Genesis Account of Creation

THE BOOK OF GENESIS
ITS ACCOUNT OF CREATION

THE book of Genesis opens with the grandest theme that ever occupied the thoughts of created intelligences; the Work of God, in bringing into being the material universe, and peopling it with organic, conscious life. The style and manner of treatment are in harmony with the grandeur of the theme. In few and powerful strokes, the progressive stages of the work are pictured to the mind, on a scale of magnificence unparalleled in writings human or divine.

It is much to be regretted that these characteristic traits of the account of the Creation, shadowing forth its impenetrable mysteries in broad and general outlines, should have been overlooked in its interpretation. This sublime Epic of Creation, with its boldly figurative imagery, and poetic grandeur of conception and expression, has been subjected to a style of interpretation, suited only to a plain and literal record of the ordinary occurrences of life. Hence, not only its true spirit, but its profound teachings, have been misconceived and misinterpreted; and its exhibition of the mysteries of creative power, which science traces in its own observation of Nature, have been confounded with popular misapprehensions, irreconcilable with the well-known facts of science.

A reconciliation of the Biblical account with the facts of Geological science has been attempted on a false theory; namely, that the several stages in the earth’s formation took place in an assumed interval of time between the first and second verses; an interval of vast and indefinite length, unnoticed by the sacred writer. During this interval, the successive processes in the formation of the earth was completed, and the successive orders of vegetable and animal life, the remains of which are found imbedded in its strata, were brought into existence and perished; that the account of the present state of things on the earth’s surface begins with the description in the second verse, representing the chaotic condition of its surface after the last of its great internal convulsions; and what follows, in verses 3-31, occurred in six natural days of twenty-four hours.

    The objections to this theory are:

1. There is no foundation for it in the sacred writer’s statement. He gives no intimation of such an interval. It is thrust in, where there is no indication that it was present to his mind, and no reason for it in the connection.

2. It assumes that the sacred writer has not given us an account of the Creator’s work, but only of a part of it; that for unknown ages the earth was peopled with vegetable and animal life, of which no record is made.

3. It is without support in the facts ascertained by science. Scientific investigation shows that no such convulsion, as is assumed in this theory, occurred at the period preceding the creation of man.

Hence the latest advocates of this theory are driven to the assumption, that what is revealed in verses 3-31 has reference only to a small area of western Asia; being nothing more than the reconstruction of that little segment of the earth’s surface, broken up and thrown into confusion by an internal convulsion, and the creation there of the new orders of vegetable and animal life that now occupy the globe.

On this supposition, the earth had already enjoyed the full light of the sun for ages, before the work of the first day (verse 3) began. Even then all around this little tract, the earth was in a blaze of light; but over this tract dense mists shut out the rays of the sun. God said: “Let there be light!” The mists grew thinner, letting in sufficient light for the time, though not enough to disclose the forms of the heavenly orbs, which were not seen there till the fourth day, though visible everywhere else. Then follow, in rapid succession of single days, the formation of continents and seas, the clothing of the earth with vegetation, and the peopling of it with the various classes of irrational animals, and finally with Man.

The infinite God has not revealed his work of creation on such a scale as this; and its proportions are better suited to the conception of the timid interpreter, stumbling at minute difficulties and seeking to evade them, than to the grand and fearless exposition of his work from God’s own hand.

4. It is an unworthy conception of the Creator and of his work. Why was the work of reation extended through six natural days, when a single divine volition would have brought the whole universe into being, with all its apparatus for the support of life, and its myriads of living beings? Its extension through six successive periods, of whatever duration, can be explained only by the operation of those secondary causes, which the structure of the earth itself proves to have been active in its formation, requiring ages for their accomplishment.

It is now established, beyond question, that the earth we inhabit was brought into existence many ages before man was created. During these ages it was in process of formation, and was gradually prepared, under the divine direction, for its future occupation by man. In those vast periods, succeeding each other in long procession, it was fitted up for his abode by accumulations of mineral wealth within its bosom. These processes required ages for their completion, as represented in the sacred narrative, and recorded by the divine hand in the successive strata enveloping the earth, and marking the progressive stages of its formation.*

*”Every great feature in the structure of the planet corresponds with the order of the events narrated in the sacred history.” – Prof. Silliman, Outline of Geological Lectures, appended to Bakewell’s Geology, p.67, note. “This history furnished a record important alike to philosophy and religion; and we find in the planet itself the proof that the record is true” (p.30).

The writer has no claim to speak as a geologist, and does not profess to do so. He takes the teachings of geology as given us by eminent masters of the science, entitled to speak on its behalf. But, speaking as an interpreter of God’s Word, and taking their representation of their own science, he sees no discordance between the two records, which the same divine Author has given us in his Word and in his works. The former, when rightly interpreted, is in perfect accord with the latter, when truly exhibited. And geologists themselves assert that the Word of God, so interpreted, is in harmony with the teachings of their science. This alone is sufficient to satisfy the candid and conscientious inquirer. But they assert, also, that the divine Word explains the divine work, while the divine work confirms the divine Word. Moreover, no human philosophy could have discovered, or conjectured, what is here revealed.* The divine record was made when science had not yet penetrated the mysteries of Nature; when the earth’s record of its own history was still buried deep in its enveloping strata, and had been read by no human eye. As, therefore, no one witnessed the scenes described, or had read the “testimony of the rocks,” the written account, if true, as science admits it to be, must have been of superhuman origin.

*”No human mind was witness of the events; and no such mind in the early age of the world, unless gifted with superhuman intelligence, could have contrived such a scheme; – would have placed the creation of the sun, the source of light to the earth, so long after the creation of light, even on the fourth day, and, what is equally singular, between the creation of plants and that of animals, when so important to both; and none could have reached to the depths of philosophy exhibited in the whole plan.” – Dana, Manual of Geology, art. Cosmogony, p.743.

The successive stages in the account of the Creation are as follows: –

1. The act of bringing matter into being. Its condition as “waste and empty,” and subjection to the divine influence imparting to it its active properties. Production of light, as the first effect of this imparted action.+

+Styled cosmical in distinction from solar light.

2. Separation of the fluid mass into waters above and waters below.

3. Separation of land and water on the earth. Vegetation, beginning with its lowest orders.

4. Sun, moon and stars.

5. Animal life, beginning with inhabitants of the waters, the lowest in the scale, and winged species on the land.

6. Terrestrial animals, in ascending grades. Man, and his dominion over all.++

++”In this succession,” says Prof. Dana (Manual of Geology, as above, p.745), “we observe not merely an order of events, like that deduced from science; there is a system in the arrangement, and a far-reaching prophecy, to which philosophy could not have attained, however instructed.”

These periods of creative activity, and the cessation that followed, were presented to the mind of the sacred writer under the familiar symbolism of the six days of labor and the seventh of rest. This was a natural and intelligible application of it; the word day, the simplest and most familiar measure of time, being used in all languages for any period of duration, of greater or less extent; and it is specially appropriate in such a style of representation as we find in this chapter.

The six days of labor, and the seventh of rest, having been adopted as the symbolism under which these sublime mysteries are revealed, whatever properly belongs to it, and [R1609 : page 12] is essential to its full expression, is pertinent to the writer’s object. Each period being represented by a “day,” its beginning and end are described in terms proper to represent a day: “there was evening and there was morning.” This was necessary, in order to preserve the symbolic representation.

It should be observed that the sacred writer, throughout this account, represents things under forms of expression most easily apprehended by the common mind. The narrative was given to instruct, and not to perplex and confound, the common reader, as it would have done if expressed in scientific forms, adapted to a higher stage of culture than the Bible requires, or could properly presuppose, in its readers.

Such a view of the sacred narrative exalts our conception of the divine Architect, and of his work. He who inhabits eternity has no need to be in a hurry. With him, a thousand years are as one day. It was not till ages of preparation had passed away, that his purposes found their entire fulfilment, and his work its completed unity, in the creation of man.

According to the distinguished teachers of science – Professors Silliman, Guyot and Dana – the account of the creation recognizes two great eras, an inorganic and an organic, consisting of three days each; each era opening with the appearance of light, that of the first being cosmical, that of the second solar for the special uses of the earth.*

*”I. Inorganic era:
1st Day. – LIGHT cosmical.
2nd Day. – The earth divided from the fluid around, or individualized.
3rd Day. – 1. Outlining of the land and water.
2. Creation of vegetation.

II. Organic era:
4th Day. – LIGHT from the sun.
5th Day. – Creation of the lower order of animals.
6th Day. – 1. Creation of Mammals. 2. Creation of Man.”
Dana, Manual of Geology, p.745.

It need not be supposed that the sacred writer read in these wonderful revelations all the mysteries which they contain, or that they were seen by those to whom the revelations were first addressed. It was not necessary that he or they should be made wise in physical learning beyond the wants of their time; and the symbolism itself conveyed all the instruction they needed.

– T. J. CONANT.

The above is republished from The Watch Tower, January 15, 1894.

Genesis 1 – Are the Creative Days Literal Days? (r-blogger creation)

The days of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 are literal, but literal “days” in the Bible are not always 24 hours long. Genesis 1 uses the word “day” to express at least three time lengths (we believe four). Each “day” is literal, but the time lengths are different.

Genesis 1:5 uses the word “day” to express two different time lengths.

Genesis 1:5 God called the light Day (avg 12 hours — John 11:9), and the darkness he called Night. There was evening and there was morning, one day (undisclosed length).

Both of these references to “day” are literal, but they are not both the same time length.

The average 12 hour literal “day” is again spoken of Genesis 1:14,16,18. However, the plural “days” is also used in Genesis 1:14, which refers to literal days of 24 hours each.

Then in Genesis 2:4 the whole six days of creation are referred to as one day. All of the expressions of “day” and “days” are speaking of literal days, but they are not all the same length in time.

Considering that the length of the creative days is not indicated, I believe that each day represents a long period of time (perhaps thousands, or even millions, or even billions of years), each with a beginning, designated an evening, and each being brought to fullness, represented by the morning. With such an understanding, the “evening” and “morning” might be considered symbolic, but the days themselves are literal days.(Nevertheless, one might also consider the “evenings/mornings” themselves literal in the setting given; just different from what we normally think of as evening and morning.) There are six literal days of creation listed, none of which are stated to be 24 hours long, nor are we told that each of the days are equal to each other in length.

Believing as we do, that the six literal days of creation are extremely long periods of time, there are at least four different time periods, and maybe more, if each of the creative days does not represent equal time lengths.

Related:
The Six Days of Creation

Beginnings in the Bible -r

The Hebrew word “Re’shiyth” [or, reshith], is translated beginning in connection with the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), and of the angels before the creation of the heavens and the earth (Proverbs 8:22). The Greek word “arche” [or, arch, arkhe, as some prefer], is translated “beginning” in connection with the creation of the earth and the heavens (Hebrews 1:10), of the world of mankind (John 1:1,2,10), and of the church as God’s new creation (2 Thessalonians 2:13) Neither of these words ever mean eternity, or a beginning in eternity (outside of time, that is, a beginning in the realm where time does not exist), nor that there was no “time” before the “beginning” spoken of, as some try to read that thought into Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 8:22; John 1:1,2; Colossians 1:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

That “resheth” means any beginning, but never means eternity — without time, or eternal duration before the beginning spoken of — is evident from the following verses: Deuteronomy 11:12; 21:17; Job 8:7; 42:12; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 17:14; Ecclesiastes 7:8; Isaiah 46:10; Jeremiah 26:1; 28:1; Micah 1:13. That “arche” means any beginning, but never means eternity — without time, or eternal duration before the beginning spoken of — is evident from the following passages: Matthew 19:4,8; 24:8,21; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:2; John 2:11; 6:64; 8:25,44; 16:4; Acts 11:15; Philippians 4:15; Hebrews 1:10; 3:14; 7:3; 2 Peter 3:4; 1 John 1:1; 2:7,13,14,24; 3:8,11; 2 John 5,6; Revelation 1:8; 3:14.

Therefore, we understand that in Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 8:22; John 1:1,2; Colossians 1:15,18 , and 2 Thessalonians 2:13, several different beginnings of God’s creative work may be referred to, at different points in time. There may be some dispute in the exact order of these beginnings, but we believe that they were as follows:

Of course, for God there was no beginning. “Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, From everlasting and to everlasting! Amen and amen.” (Psalm 41:13) He is “from everlasting to everlasting”. (Psalm 90:2) There was a time when he was all alone. Being alone he began his creative work, we believe, first, by bring the material universe into existence. Thus the “beginning” for the actual physical heavens and the physical earth — the material universe, was before the six days of creation referred to in Exodus 20:11; 31:17. — Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 8:3; Isaiah 44:24.

The first beginning of any living creation is that of the spirit creature referred to as the Logos, also referred to as the wisdom of God. — “Yahweh had constituted me [Wisdom] the beginning of his way, before his works [that being referred to in context, the earth, mountains, etc.], at the commencement of that time; At the outset of the ages, had I been established, in advance of the antiquities of the earth [not necessarily the planet earth itself, but the ‘earth’ referred to in Genesis 1:1,10; Exodus 20:11; 31:17. The physical universe probably already had been in existence, although most likely without the order in it as we know today. — Isaiah 44:24]; When there was no resounding deep, I had been brought forth, when there were no fountains, abounding with water;” (Proverbs 8:22-24, Rotherham) What of the expression “beginning of his way”? Did Yahweh have a beginning? Was there ever a beginning of Yahweh’s way? We have already said that Yahweh never had a beginning, so how could there be a beginning of Yahweh’s “way”? Evidently “way” here is in reference to Yahweh’s creation, especially that of his creation pertaining to the earth, as can be seen from the context. Thus notice these translations: “The LORD made me as the beginning of His way, the first of His works of old.” (Jewish Publication Society – 1917) “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old.” (New International Version).

Was God’s attribute of ‘wisdom’ “brought forth” at some time? No, his attribute of wisdom has always been. It did not need to be brought forth. Thus Proverbs 8:22 refers to a person, Jesus, and not to God’s attribute of wisdom, since God’s attribute of wisdom has always existed. Earlier in Proverbs 8 Wisdom is being personified as an attribute; however beginning with verse 8 we see a change in its application from an attribute to a person who actually had a beginning, who was “brought forth” before there were oceans and seas, before there were mountains and hills, before the earth [land area, not the planet — Genesis 1:10] and fields were made. Thus we read of “Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” — 1 Corinthians 1:30.
========
See Frank Shallieu’s book, Portions of the Book of Proverbs, discussion on Proverbs Chapter 8. This book is available on the Bible Students’ DVD Library
http://www.heraldmag.org/cdromad.htm

Thus we read that Jesus is the “The firstborn of every creature.” (Colossians 1:15 — the context of this verse shows that this is referring to the living creation in heaven and on earth.) “The beginning of the creation of God.” — Revelation 3:14, See Objection 1, below.

Another beginning alluded to in scripture is the beginning of other spirit creatures, such as the angels. The physical universe in some fashion probably already existed before the creation of the spirit beings. (Isaiah 44:24) We know from Job that the spirit beings were created and had their beginning before man, and before the “earth” as referred to in Genesis 1:1,10. — Job 38:7; compare: Hebrews 1:7; Ezekiel 28:11-19.

Then we have the beginning that refers to the ordering of the physical heavens and the earth; this is called the beginning of the heavens (sky) and the earth as the world in which man lives, the famed six days of creation. — John 1:1,2,10; Genesis 1:1; 2:1-4; Exodus 20:11; 31:17; Matthew 19:4,5; 2 Peter 3:4.

There are also other beginnings that are relative to a creative process. One of these (Colossians 1:18) in point of time is God’s Son as the beginning of the those being born from the dead. — Acts 13:33-37; Hebrews 1:3-5; Revelation 1:5.

Likewise another beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13) in point of time is the period from Pentecost 33 onward when the disciples were anointed with the holy spirit, as God began the generation of the new creation of the church, Christ’s body. — 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10,15; 4:24; Colossians 3:10; James 1:18.

Accordingly, the words “reshith” and “arche”, used in respect to creation, refer to starting points of new and various creative periods, and, of course, do not mean eternity, but to bring to our attention the first starts of distinctive creative periods of various creatures of God.
See also Paul S. L. Johnson’s book, Creation, pages 35,36.

Objection 1

It is claimed by some that “beginning” in Revelation 3:14 is a title meaning source or one who begins, i.e. Creator. It is also claimed that Jesus is called the arche in the sense of “ruler,” in Col. 1:18. Some claim that the Greek word *arche* should be translated as “origin” rather “beginning” in Revelation 3:14. Thus some translations present this verse accordingly: “prime source of all God’s creation.” (New Enlgish Bible translation) “The source through whom God’s creation came.” (Knox) “The beginner of God’s creation.” (Williams, Goodspeed) “The Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation.” (Amplified New Testament) In all these translations, however, it should be pointed out that the one being spoken of still represented as a different person from God, and thus not God himself.

It is further claimed that *arche*, as used in Revelation 3:14, means “ruler” of God’s creation. We are given the following scriptures where the plural of arche (archai) is used in sense of rulers (as having principality, or first place over others): Luke 12:11; 20:20; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:12; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 15, Titus 3:1. Jude 1:6. We do not deny that the Greek word *arche* can be used figuratively of ones in authority [based on the sense of first position, or the higher positions in the realm being spoken of], but is that what is meant in Revelation 3:14? In Revelation 3:14, what we have is one who is spoken of as “the beginning” of God’s creation. It is not a possessive nominative followed by what is possessed, as it should be if it meant “ruler” of God’s creation. Similar Greek construction of *arche* can be found in Mark 10:6; 13:19 and 2 Peter 3:4, where beginning refers, not to a person, but a point in time when the creation of the world of mankind started. There is no doubt in these verses that *arche* does not mean “ruler”. Usually the word *arche* is translated as “beginning” except in those cases where the context shows that figurative meaning of the word is meant. There is no reason to think that in Revelation 3:14 there should be any different translation, except that one, in keeping with preconceived beliefs, would like for this scripture to say other than what it says, that Jesus is the first creation of God.

Below we present the translations in the King James Version of the Greek arch (arkee, arche) in italics.
This list has been obtained from:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/arche.html
Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Arche”. “The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon”

The reader may see how the word is used throughout the New Testament. Please note how John 1:1 and Revelation 3:14 use the word “beginning” in common usage. Also note especially Matthew 24:21, Mark 10:6, and 2 Peter 3:4, wherein the beginning of creation is referring to the beginning of the world of mankind. By studying the various uses of the Greek word arch, the reader may be properly informed.

  • Mt 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
  • Mt 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
  • Mt 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
  • Mt 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be
  • Mr 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
  • Mr 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
  • Mr 13:8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
  • Mr 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
  • Lu 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
  • Lu 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
  • Lu 14:9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [[We could not find any occurrence of arche in this verse.]]
  • Lu 20:20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
  • Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
  • Joh 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
  • Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
  • Joh 8:25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
  • Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
  • Joh 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
  • Joh 16:4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
  • Ac 10:11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
  • Ac 11:5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
  • Ac 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
  • Ac 26:4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
  • Ro 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
  • 1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
  • Eph 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
  • Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
  • Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
  • Php 4:15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
  • 2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth
  • Tit 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
  • Heb 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
  • Heb 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
  • Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
  • Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
  • Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
  • Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
  • 2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
  • 1Jo 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
  • 1Jo 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
  • 1Jo 2:13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
  • 1Jo 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
  • 1Jo 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
  • 1Jo 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
  • 1Jo 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
  • 2Jo 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
  • 2Jo 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
  • Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
  • Re 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
  • Re 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
  • Re 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
  • Re 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Note that *arche* is not used as partitive genitive construction in Luke 12:11; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10,15; Titus 3:1; Jude 1:6. In each of these verses, the word *arche* is used in the context where words are used describing authority or power (such is not the case in Revelation 3:14), and it is clear from the context that “beginning” of something is not what is meant. Luke 20:20 is genitive, but it is apparent that is not speaking of a beginning of something. Nevertheless, the normal word used for “ruler” is the Greek word *archwn* (Strong’s #758). If “ruler” was meant in Revelation 3:14, it would seem likely that this word would have been used rather than *arche*, as it is used in Revelation 1:5.

Despite the fact that the Greek word *arche* is sometimes translated “magistrate”, “power”, or “ruler”, note that in the writings of John, the King James Version consistently translates the Greek word *arche* as “beginning.”

As far as coming up with the idea that “arche” in Revelation 3:14 means “originator” or “source”, one has to look outside the New Testament Greek for such usage, for in the New Testament one cannot find such usage anywhere. Indeed, translators who wish to make arche mean “origin” (as meaning “originator”) or “source”, etc., only choose to do so in Revelation 3:14 (and some have suggested the same for John 1:1), whereas they usually translate “arche” as “beginning” in all the same places where the King James Version does so. Indeed, the same can be said about those translators who wish to translate these verses with anything but “beginning”. Therefore, it can be seen that they are translating these two verses to suit their doctrine.

Finally we will provide a few quotes from various scholars concerning Revelation 3:14:

The word properly refers to the commencement of a thing, not its authorship, and denotes properly primacy in time, and primacy in rank, but not primacy in the sense of causing anything to exist. . . . The word is not, therefore, found in the sense of authorship, as denoting that one is the beginning of anything in the sense that he caused it to have an existence. … If it were demonstrated from other sources that Christ was, in fact, a created being, and the first that God had made, it cannot be denied that this language would appropriately express that fact. — Albert Barnes’ /Notes on the New Testament, p. 1569.)

A check of all the occurrences in NT of arkhe followed by a genitive expression…show that it always denotes a beginning or first part of something. — Greg Stafford, Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, An Answer to Scolars and Critics, First edition, page 109.

In the NT archē occurs 53 times, and 26 of these must have the meaning “beginning,” because they are preceeded by a preposition (as “from the beginning”). In 8 instances (123) the word occurs in a genitive construction, where the meaning is also, clearly, “beginning.” In 6 instances (124) the meaning “beginning” is also appropriate. In 2 instance (125) it has the meaning “corner.” In 11 instances … archē has the meaning “government” or “ruler.” The final uses of this word are in Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 3:14, which are both theologically significant.

From the above it is clear that archē, in more that 75% of its occurrences, means “beginning.” Apart from “corner,” which also is a “beginning,” the word is used in some sense connected with “government.” The word archē, with the meaning “source,” is nowhere attested in the NT, and 7 of the instances with the meaning “government” are in the plural. Also, the four singular occurrences with this meaning are qualified, either by “every” (1 Cor 15:24: Eph 1:21; Col 2:10) or by a genitive construction (Luke 20:20).
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Footnote 123: Matthew 24:8; Mark 1:1; 13:8,19; Hebrews 5:12; 6:1; 7:3; 2 Peter 3:4.
Footnote 124: John 8:25; Jude 1:6; Hebrews 2:3; 3:14; Revelatin 21:6; 22:13. In several of these texts there is a contrast between the “beginning” and the “end.”
Footnote 125: Acts 19:11; 11:15
—–Rolf Furuli, The Role of Theology and Bias in Bible Translation, 1999.

For more information on refutation of the trinity/oneness doctrines, see our site: Jesus and His God
http://jesus-rlbible.com/

Links to Various Sites

We offer these links for further study along the lines that we present above. While the authors present some good information that does agree with our statements, we do not necessarily agree with all of their conclusions.

Some comments by JW Greg Stafford at BGreek:
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2001-May/016793.html
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2001-May/016795.html
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2001-May/016796.html
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2001-May/016797.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5495.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5509.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5511.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5512.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5513.html

Updated slightly, October 24, 2006.

John 1:1 – In the Beginning; Genesis 1:1 (RL Jesus and His God Link)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning was the LOGOS, and the LOGOS was with TON THEON, and the LOGOS was theos.” — John 1:1; transliterations obtained from Westcott & Hort Interlinear

Unless otherwise noted, all quotations from the Holy Bible are from the World English bible translation.

We will, in this study, examine what is the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, as well as what is included in the “panta” [all things] spoken of in John 1:3. One claims: “By saying that the Word was in the beginning, John implies that the Logos already existed before the beginning talked about in Gen 1:1, namely, the beginning of created reality. This means that the Logos must be uncreated and eternal.” This is usually the concept that most apply to the word “beginning” in John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1, and then, from this it is assumed the the Logos had no beginning.

One might say that the word “beginning” refers to the beginning of creation, which is true, but then we need to ask: What creation? One might say the creation of the “heavens and the earth”, as spoken of in Genesis 1:1. But then, we need to ask, What is included in the heavens and earth that is spoken of there? Does it include the heavens where the angels are who always see the face of God? (Matthew 18:10) Doesn’t Job 38:4-7 speak the angels as “sons of God”, and thus show that they were already in existence before the beginning of the heavens and the earth of Genesis 1:1? Was the heaven wherein God’s throne exists ever created? — Isaiah 66:1; Matthew 5:34.

What was the general thought of the New Testament writers when they spoke of the “beginning” of creation, or of the world? We need to examine some scriptures to see, and thereby compare spiritual with spiritual. — 1 Corinthians 2:13.

The first scripture we will examine is Matthew 19:4:

He answered, “Haven’t you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, …”

We can learn from this that Jesus associated “the beginning” with the time of the creation of Adam and Eve. This agrees with Exodus 20:11: “In six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” This shows that the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 is the six days that are described in Genesis 1:3 through Genesis 2:1. Adam and Eve’s creation was on the last of the six days of creation in which God created the heavens and the earth. Thus, the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 is regarding the six days of creation.

However, do these six days include the creation of the planet earth, the sun, the moon, the stars and the angels? No. Let us see why this is so.

Before getting into the creation of the heavens and the earth — the six days — we read: “the earth was formless and empty.” (Genesis 1:2) It should be apparent here that “earth” is referring to the planet. The planet earth already “was” before the first day of creation, thus before the beginning spoken of in Genesis 1:1, as verified by Exodus 20:11. Thus, “earth” in verse 1, which refers to the six days of creation, must mean something different than the planet earth.

So what was the “earth” that is spoken of that was ccreated in the “beginning”? Genesis 1:9,10 tells us:

God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. God saw that it was good.

Notice that was not the planet that was created on the third day, but dry land. This is the “earth” that was created in the beginning spoken of in verse one. “Earth” in the Bible, however, also designates the society of people who are living on the dry land. We read that “The earth also was corrupt before God.” (Genesis 6:11) Does this mean that the planet itself was corrupt? No, it is speaking of mankind and his society upon the earth: “the earth was filled with violence.” And:

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. — Genesis 6:13.

Here God says he will destroy all flesh with the earth. Did he mean that the planet earth would be no more? No, but he did destroy the order of things that man had made upon the earth. Thus, we should be able to see that the word “earth” can refer to the human society on the planet earth, and not to the planet itself.

Likewise, Abraham called Jehovah the “Judge of all the earth.” (Genesis 18:25) Did he mean that the planet itself was to be judged by Yahweh? No, he is speaking of mankind upon the planet. More scriptures could be cited, but these give a basis for showing that the “earth” referred to in Genesis 1:1 is not the planet, but rather the things upon the land.

What about the heavens — what is included in the statement that in the beginning God created the heavens? Very evidently “heavens” does not include the heavens that is God’s throne, and where the angels see the face of God. (Isaiah 66:1; Matthew 5:34; 18:10) The scriptures seem to indicate that the invisible heavens where God throne is has always been. (Psalm 93:2; 103:19; Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:45) So what heavens is being referred to?

The word “heaven”, like the word “earth”, is used in different ways in the Bible.

The Hebrew word Shamayim, usually rendered “heavens” in Genesis 1:1, is precisely the same word that used in Genesis 1:8. Often it is rendered by many translations in the singular in Genesis 1:8; however, it is plural in both instances in the Hebrew — it is exactly the same word used in both instances. This indicates that “heavens” spoken of as being created in Genesis 1:1, is that expanse, or firmament, that is spoken of in Genesis 1:8. However, as the beginning involves the full of the six days, the heavens includes all that is in these heavens — the hosts of heaven — as seen from the earth, the flying creatures, and even the sun, moon and stars that were made to appear in the fourth day (Genesis 1:14,15; 2:1; Note: We do not understand Genesis 1:14,15 to mean that the sun, moon and stars, as physical bodies, were created on the fourth day, but that they were made to appear in the heavens as seen from the surface of the earth). We should note further that the word “heavens” can also refer to the spiritual ruling powers that had been set in place by God through Jesus, which heavens — spiritual ruling powers, having come under the control of wicked spirits – is to pass away. — Psalm 102:25; Ezekiel 28:12-15; Matthew 4:8,9; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; Hebrews 1:8,10; 1 John 5:19.
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See: http://jesus.rlbible.com/?p=367

And what about the “beginning” in John 1:1? It is speaking of the beginning of the world of mankind and not the creation of the spirit world or even of the stars and planet systems. (We should take note that there is a single “day” of creation spoken of in Genesis 2:4, which “day” includes the “six days” in which he created the heavens [skies] and the earth [land masses]. — Exodus 20:13; see also Matthew 19:4,5, which refers to the beginning when Adam and Eve were created.) The angels were already in existence in the spirit world at the creation being spoken of. — Job 4:11-17; Mark 10:6.

So we conclude that at the “beginning” spoken of in John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1, the angels were already in existence, as well as the LOGOS. Again, by comparing spiritual with spiritual, we find verification for this in the way the word “beginning” is used in the NT, as related to creation.

In Matthew 24:21, Jesus speaks of the “beginning of the world.”

For then will be great oppression, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be.

Is he here speaking of the world of the angels? No, he is speaking of the world of mankind.

Mark 10:6 makes this even clearer:

But from the beginning of the creation, ‘God made them male and female.’

So the beginning of creation here is not the beginning of the creation of the spirit world; the angels — the spirit sons of God — were already in existence at the creation that Jesus spoke of. — Job 38:4-7; see Job 1:6; 2:1.

Let us also notice some usages of the word “creation” (Hebrew, ktisis; Strong’s #2937) that show that it usually (although not always) was used in the NT times to refer to human creation, and not angels, sun, moon, stars, etc.

Mark 16:15 – He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”

The whole creation here does not include the angels, nor the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. The “creation” being spoken of is the human creation. The word translated “whole” in the Greek is “pasee”, a variation of the word “pas”. (Strong’s #3956 — This word is discussed in the latter part of this study.) The usage here further illustrates that “pas” in all its variations does not refer to absolutely everything in the universe. Here it is limited to the human creation, as it is also in John 1:3. It is speaking of the world of mankind into which Jesus came. — John 1:10.

Romans 1:20 – For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.

It should be obvious here that the “world” being spoken of is the visible world — the world of mankind here on earth, and not the invisible world of the angels, etc.

Romans 8:19 – For the creation waits with eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
Romans 8:20 – For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope…

Similarly, it should be apparent that the spirit world is not subjected to the vanity spoken of here, but it is the world of mankind.

Now getting back to the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, by a comparison of spriritual revealment with spiritual revealment we can see that this beginning is not speaking of everything in the entire universe, but it can be seen to be limited especially to the world of mankind, into which Jesus came. It is of the world of mankind that John speaks of John 1:3 as “panta” — all. TON THEON made the all of the world of mankind, through Jesus, and without him none of this world was made.

However, many read in John 1:3 that not one thing was made without the Logos and thus conclude that the “beginning” in John 1:1 refers to the absolute beginning of everything that was created.

John 1:3 – All things [Greek, panta, Strong’s #3956] were made through [Greek, di, Strong’s #1223] him. Without him was not anything [oude hen, Strong’s #3761, 1520] made that has been made.

The word translated “all things” in the Greek is “panta”. Literally, it means “all.” The word “things” is supplied by translators. The word panta is a variation of the word “pas”. This word always looks to context and common evidence for what should be included and what should not be included. It rarely, if ever, means absolutely everything that exists.

If one were to do a search through the NT occurences of variations of the Greek word “pas”, and try to replace it with “absolutely everything in the universe”, one could see it just does not fit. One can do this by using a Greek transliterated text that can be searched. However, it is easier if one searches for Strong’s #3956. The Westcott & Hort text is available online by which one can do such a search.
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http://qbible.com/greek-new-testament/.

Let us look at a few scriptures to demonstrate this principle of evident inclusion and exclusion.

“There went out to him all the country of Judea, and all those [Strong’s 3956] of Jerusalem. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:5) Pantes [a variation of “pas”] is here rendered “all those”. Does this mean that absolutely every person who lived in the country of Judea and in Jerusalem came to John and was baptized by him? Absolutely not.

Mark 1:5
kai exeporeueto pros auton pasa hee ioudaia
AND WAS GOING THE WAY OUT TOWARD HIM ALL THE JUDEAN
2532 1607 4314 0846_7 3956 3588 2449
chwra kai hoi ierosolumeitai pantes kai
COUNTRY AND THE JERUSALEMITES ALL, AND
5561 2532 3588 2415 3956 2532
ebaptizonto hup autou en tw iordanee potamw
WERE BEING BAPTIZED BY HIM IN THE JORDAN RIVER
0907 5259 0846_3 1722 3588 2446 4215
exomologoumenoi tas hamartias autwn
OPENLY CONFESSING THE SINS OF THEM.
1843 3588 0266 0846_92
Westcott & Hort Interlinear, as obtained from the Bible Students Library DVD

To make greater sense in English, this would be better rendered: “And there went to him those of all the land of Judea, and Jerusalemites. All these were baptized by him in the Jordan River, openly confessing their sins.” The Good News Translation, although it is paraphrased, captures the sense by expressing it: “Many people from the province of Judea and the city of Jerusalem went out to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.”

“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.” (Mark 4:11, King James Version) Here in the KJV, the phrase “ta panta” [literally, ‘the all’] is shown as “all these things”. This is a good example of how qualifiers added by translators may help the reader understand the usage of the word “all”. Not only did the KJV translators add the word “things”, but they also added the word “these”.

“With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all [Strong’s 3956] things which are done here.” (Colossians 4:9) Here it is evident from the context that “all” is limited the things “which are done here.” The word “things” in English is added by the KJV translators.

And then we have the example of the usage of “ta panta” in Hebrews 2:8, where Paul quotes Psalm 8 regarding mankind: “‘You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in that he subjected all things to him [man], he left nothing that is not subject to him [man]. But now we don’t see all things subjected to him, yet.” What are the “all things” — ta panta: the all — that was subjected to mankind? Psalm 8:7 answers: “All sheep and oxen, Yes, and the animals of the field, The birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, And whatever passes through the paths of the seas.” (See Genesis 1:26,28) It is evident that ta panta here does not mean absolutely everything in the universe, but that it includes all the things being spoken of that was subjected to man.

In Colossians 1:20 we read that through Jesus, God is reconciling “all things” [ta panta] to himself, “whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Does this mean that absolutely everything in the universe is out of harmony with God, and thus through Jesus absolutely everything in the universe needs to be reconciled to God? Does this mean that the obedient angels need to be reconciled with God? Does this mean that Satan himself will be reconciled with God? The things that come to peace with God directly through the blood of Jesus is man, first of all the seed of Abraham, and then those take of the waters of life in the millennium. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) However, Jesus and his joint-heirs especially, will not only rule over mankind, but also over the angels — over all dominions, so that eventually all must either repent and come into harmony with God, or else be destroyed. The end result is that all creation then remaining both in heaven and earth that had been out of harmony with God will be reconciled to God, but the point is that the term “all things” does not totally refer to absolutely everything in the universe, since not all things in the universe are out of harmony with God so that they would need to be reconciled.
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See also:
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1941_11.htm#_Toc31126780

Therefore, The word panta (as well as all the variations of the Greek pas — Strong’s Greek #3956) is used in connection with what is spoken of, thus all the things of which we are speaking. It does not necessarily mean absolutely everything that exists, else God himself would have to be included.
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http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/NewTestamentGreek/grk.cgi?number=3956.

So we conclude that the word panta (usually translated in John 1:3 as “all things”) and the words “oude hen” (usually translated as “not one thing”) need to be viewed relative to what is being spoken of, that is, the world of mankind into which the Logos came and was not recognized by. (John 1:10; 17:5) The words “things” and “thing” are supplied by the translators. Without adding the supplied word “things” and “thing”, the verse would read: “All through him came to be, and without him not one came to be.”

Now, regarding the phrase “not one thing”. A similar usage may be found in Hebrews 2:8 (already discussed above), in connection with his quotation from Psalm 8:5,6. Paul is referring to the subjection of “all things” to mankind. And then he says “For in that he [God] subjected all things to him [man], he left nothing that is not subject to him.” In saying that God left nothing that is not subject to man, did Paul mean that there is nothing in the whole universe that was not made subject to man? Absolutely, not! Paul is speaking concerning realm of the earth. And this is what can be seen from Psalm 8:6-8:

Psalm 8:6 You make him ruler over the works of your hands. You have put all things under his feet: Psalm 8:7 All sheep and oxen, Yes, and the animals of the field, Psalm 8:8 The birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, And whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

Likewise, by context, and from the rest of the scriptures, we can determine that “not one thing” in John 1:3 refers the creation of the world of mankind, not to everything in the universe.

Having all this evidence from what is revealed through the holy spirit in the scriptures, it is our conclusion that the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 is not pertaining to the angels, nor even to the physical earth, stars and planets; that these were already in existence at the “beginning” spoken of both in John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1, and that this beginning refers to the beginning of the world of mankind, as spoken of in John 1:10; 17:5.

The Six Days of Creation

The Genesis account tells nothing about the creation of the planet Earth itself. It says, “In the beginning the Earth was — without form and void” — shapeless, empty. There were neither mountains nor valleys, trees nor shrubs, rivers nor oceans, but the Earth was. How long before that it had been created, is not stated. The account of the Days of Creation given in Genesis does not relate to the construction of our globe, but to the ordering of it for human habitation. Thus, the scriptures refer to these six days, the beginning, creation, in reference to the creation of the world of mankind (not the sun, moon, stars, etc.), into which world the Logos came. — Matthew 19:4,8; 24:21; Mark 10:6; 13:19; 16:15; John 1:1,2,10; 17:5; Romans 1:20; 8:19-22; Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 9:11; 2 Peter 3:4.

There are various theories regarding the earth’s formation and its preparation, beginning, as the earth upon which man was to live. Most Bible Students believe that planet had “fields”, “belts” or “rings” of gaseous and mineral material, enveloping the earth, kept in place by magnetic forces. Today many know of what is usually called the “ozone” field. The “Van Allen” belts may provide a similar example. At any rate, it is believed that gradually the motion of the fields became different from that of the Earth in proportion to the distance from the center of gravity. These fields gradually approaching the Earth would be kept off by centrifugal force, particularly strong at the equator.

Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Genesis 1:3 – God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Please note that planet “earth” already “was” before the beginning of the first day, and that it was covered with water. The waters referred to probably consisted of various forms of liquids, and made not had yet been developed into the waters as we know the oceans today. Before the first day began, however, the planet earth was already in existence, and the its watery surface was in total darkness.  We believe, in accordance with Isaiah 44:24, that the material universe was already in existence before the “beginning” that is spoken of in Genesis 1:1. We read in Job 38:4-7 that there were “sons of God” already present when the foundation of the earth was laid, evidently referring to the “beginning” and the “earth” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:10, not of the creation of the planet itself that already “was” as spoken of in Genesis 1:2, since Isaiah 44:24 indicates that God was alone at the creation of the material universe. If Yahweh was alone at the laying of the foundations of the material universe, then the foundations spoken of in Job 38:4-7 must refer to the foundations of the heaven and earth of Genesis 1:8 and Genesis 1:10.

In the first day, the “brooding” of Holy Energy developed a light, probably resembling the Aurora Borealis — but not sunlight. Many Bible Students believe that a canopy around the earth caused the darkness, and as the canopy disintegrated some light from the sun was allowed to shine on the surface, but that the sun itself could not yet been seen. The “light” could have come from the regions of the surface of the waters, as this time element would have a lot of underwater volcanic activity, which may have provided the source for such light. Regardless, we are informed that on Day One some form of light was provided, and that it was distinguished from the darkness.  The word “day” as used related to “light”, however, is not of the same length as when day is use of first “day” of creation.

The Sun itself, like the planet earth itself, must have already been existence as part of the earlier creation spoken of in Isaiah 44:24. However,  it did not appear in the sky until the Fourth Day, nor are 24-hour “days” actually mentioned until then. Thus, there must have been something that hindered the sunlight from reaching the surface of the earth that left the surface of the earth in darkness as described in Genesis 1:2.

Some have pointed to Luke’s genealogy, which goes back to Adam as the son of God, and have claimed that this proves that the Bible supports the idea that the planet earth has been here for only a few thousand years. Luke only provides a genealogy back to the first man created by God, but not back to the creation of the universe itself, which had already taken place before the six days of creation of the world of mankind. Likewise, the angelic “son of God” were already in existence at the time of the creation of the first man (Job 38:4-9), so there was a creation of these invisible beings before that creation which is spoken of in the first two chapters of Genesis.

Some insist the the six days of creation spoken of in Genesis 1 & 2 are 24-hour days, and that thus the Bible says that God created the heavens and earth in six 24-hour days. The Bible says nothing about creating the heavens and earth in six 24-hour days. This thought has to be assumed and added to what is written. There are at least three different usages of the word “day” in the first two chapters of the Bible, each with different time lengths. Each of the six epochs of creation are called a “day”, each made up of what is rendered as “evening” and “morning” without any signification as to duration (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31); the light is called “day” without any signification as to duration (Genesis 1:5); the light is called “day” in reference to the daylight hours of a 24-hour day, which “day” averages about 12 hours. (Genesis 1:14,16; See John 11:9); the first mention of “days” that we can actually identify in the sense of 24-hour days is in Genesis 1:14: “let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for *days* and years”; all six days/epochs of creation are called a “day” (singular). — Genesis 2:4.

Thus the six periods of time for creation are called “days”, followed by a seventh day of rest, providing a pattern for the work week and a day of rest, the seven days of a week that mankind is now familiar with. — Exodus 20:9-11.

As to how long the physical universe of stars and planets existed before God began those six days of creation, the Bible does not state.

The generations listed in Luke only go back to the creation of Adam, not to the when the physical universe itself was created, which could have been billions of years, according to our time as we now have it.

God created the universe, and the invisible “sons of God”, before he created the “heavens” and “earth” that are spoken of in Genesis 1:1.

Some claim that the Hebrew word translated as “heavens” in Genesis 1 does not mean the “sky”, since it is plural. Others have claimed that since the King James Version and others have “heaven” (singular) in Genesis 1:8 and that it has “heavens” in Genesis 1:1, then these two verses are not referring to the same thing.

The Hebrew word, *Shamayim*, is always plural all the way through the Bible, although many times translators render it as singular in many instances. The singular form never appears in the Bible. This plural form is used in Genesis 1:26,28,30; 2:19,20; 7:3; 9:2 in describing the region where the birds fly. Of course, the sky *can* include everything seen above from the earth, but the sun, moon and stars did not appear until in the “sky” until the fourth day, so the creative process continues over the six days.

We are not to think that the sun, moon, and stars were “created” as an physical bodies on Day Four, but it was it at that time that the fields above the earth became thin enough so that they could be seen in the sky above, as though from man’s standpoint upon the earth. The fourth day is actually the first mention of a “days” as we know 24-hour days. (Genesis 1:14-19) Additionally, the approximately 12-hour “day” – the average time of sunlight — is also first mentioned at that time. — John 11:9.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/shamayim.html

The expressions “evening and morning” and “day” cannot be understood to signify twenty-four-hour days, for neither Sun nor Moon was visible until the Fourth Day. The planet earth, already in existence before the account given in Genesis 1, was swathed in total darkness. (Genesis 1:2) The word “day” applies to any period, or Epoch, as for instance, the “Day of temptation in the wilderness” — forty years. (Psalms 95:8.) Note again, that we read of the “Day of Christ,” evidently referring to the thousand-year Day in which Messiah is to be King over all the Earth. (Isaiah 2:11.)

In the common affairs of life we use the word “day” similarly, when referring to Caesar’s day, Napoleon’s day, etc.

Thus, most Bible Students accept that each “day” of creation is not 24-hours, but periods of time much longer.

As one after another the encircling fields of gas and minerals approached the Earth they would spread out like a great canopy, but would not be permitted to fall upon the Earth because of the circumambient air, referred to in Scripture as a “firmament”, or “expanse”.

God made the firmament, or expanse, to appear above the earth’s surface, in the second “Day”, and separated the waters which were under the firmament, expanse,  from the waters (probably cloud-like vapor) which were above the firmament. — Genesis 1:7.

According to our theory, the strongly mineralized fields above the Earth, held off by the “firmament” and centrifugal force, greatest at the equator, gradually concentrated at the two poles, where later they broke and then reached the Earth, forming layer after
layer of mineralized earth deposited by the water which rushed from both poles toward the equator. — Genesis 7:11,18.

These fields, or belts, of gas and minerals followed each other as great deluges upon the Earth — perhaps thousands (millions?) of years apart. The deluge of Noah’s day is believed to have been the last, of vapor only, heavier minerals being attracted first to the surface. Hence minerals are generally under several layers of shale and soil.

Nevertheless, the second “day” describes the formation of the “heavens” spoken of as “beginning” in Genesis 1:1. The heavens at that time, however, did not include the sun, the moon, or the stars, nor did it contain any flying birds. Nor was it yet the heavens – the above – for mankind, since man had yet been created. It was the start of the creation of the heavens of the world of mankind.

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land of the Earth appear; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He seas. And the evening and the morning were the Third Day.”

Here we have the formation “the earth” that is spoken of as “beginning” in verse 1. It does not speak of the planet earth, but of the dry land as “earth”.

It is possible that several of the fields encircling the earth precipitated themselves upon the earth during this third epoch. Thus, many believe that these, according to the Divine intention, so increased the pressure on the crust of the Earth as to cause it to buckle or wrinkle. These depressions became ocean beds, and the upheavals became mountain ranges. Thus was the work of the Third Day accomplished. The waters were gathered into seas and oceans, the dry land was up heaved and began gradually to drain off in preparation for vegetation. This draining must have required a long time. — Genesis 1:9,10.

Appropriately we next read: “And the Earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit.”

That is to say, vegetation began on the Third, or Carboniferous Day, though it did not reach its perfection until after the light of the Sun penetrated. There are grasses and other vegetation which prosper best in darksome shades. Additionally, there was light being provided from the unstated source that was spoken of in Day One. Regardless, it was on Day Three that vegetation began to grow.

The claim has been made that in Genesis 1:16, the verse says that God created the Sun, Moon, and stars, and fastened (Hebrew: nawthan) them to the firmament. The Hebrew word “Nathan”, Strong’s #5414, means: “to give, put, set, allow, grant, show, cause, appoint”. We cannot find any support for the idea of “fasten”. The KJV most often renders this word as:

give 1078, put 191, deliver 174, made 107, set 99, up 26, lay 22, grant 21, suffer 18, yield 15, bring 15, cause 13, utter 12, laid 11, send 11, recompense 11, appoint 10, shew 7, miscellaneous 167.

God, by whatever means, did show, allow, bring, are cause these luminaries to be in the sky in as part of the fourth epoch of creation. What prevented these heavenly bodies from being seen from the earth’s surface before Day 4 is not directly given in the Bible.

“And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night.”

The Sun, the Moon and the Stars were created long before, but had never, up to this time, cast their light upon the Earth because of the impenetrable veil which canopied it.The appearance of the Sun and the Moon on the Fourth Day implies that another field, or belt, broke at that time and precipitated its great mass of water and mineral upon the Earth. Great gullies were washed between the mountains.

The atmosphere, heavily charged with carbon, was very favorable to the development of plant life. It is supposed that the Earth still had considerable heat in its crust, that oceans were warm and highly carboniferous, and that the air was surcharged with carbon to the extent that no breathing animal could have existed. But those very conditions were extremely favorable to gigantic growths of vegetation. This vegetation presumably passed into a condition resembling that of the peat-beds of our day. These beds of incipient coal afterwards came under great pressure, as one after another the belts of Earth came down in deluges, burying vegetation under slimy deposits. Our coalfields are the result.

Nor should we assume that the Sun and the Moon shone on the earth in Day 4 as in the clarity that we now see them. But they were discernible even through heavy banks of fog and carbon-laden atmosphere. The influences of the Sun and the Moon were necessary to prepare for higher forms of plant and animal life.

It has been claimed that Genesis 1:1 begins with Day 1, with the heavens and earth being created on Day 1. There is nothing in the description of Day One about the planet earth or the stars being created. One has to read such a thought into what is said there. Genesis 1:1 is a summation of the entire six days. The “heavens”, as seen from the earth, were, in some way visible on the first day due to the light, but the actual creation of the heavens began in day 2, and continued. The actual creation of the earth, dry land, came on day three. That this is the intention of the statement, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth”, can be seen from Exodus 20:11: “In [during] six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.”  Also Exodus 31:17: “In six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested.” Thus the “beginning” in Genesis 1:1 describes the entire six days, not just the first day. Likewise, in Genesis 2:4, all six of these days are described as “the day [singular] that Yahweh God made earth and the heavens.”

Related Restoration Light Links:

Darkness, Light and the Logos

Jesus’ Pre-Human Glory

Genesis 1:1-2:4 – Seven days when no days?

Are the Creative Days Literal Days?

Beginnings in the Bible

In the Beginning (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1)

Hebrews 1:10-12- Does Yahweh Speak to Yahweh?

Without Jesus Christ Absolutely Nothing Was Made? (John 1:3)

Related Books

A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy (Book)

The Genesis Debate : Three Views on the Days of Creation

Three Views on Creation and Evolution

The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God

A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy

Beyond the Cosmos: The Extra-Dimensionality of God : What Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics Reveal About the Glory and Love of God
By Hugh Ross