Originally posted on “TheTwelves.com” under the following premise: This discussion will explore the scriptural, theological and scientific basis for the Literal (6-Day) interpretation and the Day-Age (Theistic Evolution) interpretation of the Genesis creation account. The issue for us, at thetwelves.com, is not “Did God create?” but rather, “By what process did God create and what does that process teach us about God?” We acknowledge God’s power to create, but recognize that differences exist in the interpreting and understanding the mechanics used.
Taking Creation Out of the Box by David Ian
From the outset we must understand what compels us from not taking a literal translation of a twenty-four hour six-day creation account is the scriptural text itself, and not the findings of science. We must also recognize our own potential fallibility in understanding the undeniable Truth that is the scriptures i.e., scripture is inerrant; our human interpretation and understanding of it is not.
Having said that, we must also recognize the truth of this maxim: Provable fact trumps misplaced faith. One hardly needs to revisit the Galileo debacle to understand the dynamic at play here. Enter Galileo with irrefutable proof that the earth revolves around the sun. Enter also the Church which reads a literal interpretation of certain scriptures and concludes that the sun is the body in motion, not the earth (1). The Church then declares to believe otherwise is a heresy. At the bottom of the argumentation comes the dynamic that scriptures are not wrong; just how we mortals read them.
Which brings us back to the Genesis account, and what compels us to understand the creation story as something more than a convenient 24/6 formula. As we read the description of the first creation event, we immediately run into problems taking it at a literal context. We have the creation of light and its separation from dark, and that is pretty much it -- we have our first “day”. Problem being, we don’t have the mechanics in place yet to mark the fixed times, the days, the years, etc. (2) There is no sun, moon, stars or conventional passage of day and night to compel us to understand that this first creation event took twenty-four hours -- to claim so reads more into the text than is intended.
Further, we are told there is an “evening” and a “morning”, and yet again, the physical bodies (sun, moon, stars, etc.) are not in place to create such a morning or evening as we understand in our known day/night cycle. Therefore, we are compelled to accept that this is an “evening” and “morning” not of our current understanding. It would only be our own invention to (errantly) ascribe a conventional “morning” and “evening” with sunrise and sunset here in the creation account.
The third compulsion we must recognize is that of God’s nature. God exists separate from time, He is not bound by time, is not of necessity obliged to work within it. Therefore, when God sets about His creation, He is not forced to work within a time constraint, especially when there are no mechanics to count the passage of time.
Only now, since we have examined the scriptures and by its own verbiage do we become compelled look for an alternative understanding of the creation event with regard to its time frame. If we staunchly hold onto the 24/6 idea merely because the word “day” is involved, then we must also accept the literal account that the “sun goes up and the sun goes down” and that the sun is the moving body around the earth, and we’re back to Galileo again.
Science has provided a model of the origins of the universe which is eerily consistent with the order described in the creation account. Understand this model has been developed, of a necessity, independent of religious texts, and yet, when it describes the preexisting state of events before the Big Bang as “matter in random motion in space”, one cannot help but hear the echoes of the Gen. 1 account saying “and the earth was without form, and void”(3) and when it all climaxes into a gigantic nuclear flash we can hear it heralded by God’s words, “let their be light” (4). Continuing on, we have the swirling pockets of matter coalescing into stars and galaxies, and again, the parallel scripture recalling God “dividing the light from the darkness” (5) come to mind. Here now, we are not testing scripture against science, but instead, testing science’s findings against scripture, and the consistency that exists begs it to be examined further.
So, too, if we examine science’s accounting of the origins of life against scripture, we find many parallels: Science says life began in the oceans, the scriptures say so as well; science says that the diversification of species came in a series of stages, so do the scriptures; science acknowledges man as the highest form of life, as do the scriptures as well as tell us why.
When we take a glimpse of the 24/6 model and compare it to current findings and hard evidence, we have some serious time frame discrepancies. Geologic time, for one. Astronomical time for another. The development of species for yet another. To suggest that God somehow “compensated” for all these and a whole myriad of other inconsistencies begins to delve into the realm of making God fit into our worldview and would ultimately force Him into doing some rather silly things as a result. It is our own arrogance that makes us more comfortable with making God do such silly things -- like work under a time constraint when no time exists, or “hurry up” the star light so it reaches earth in thousands rather than millions of light years, or hand compress diamonds instead of letting them form within geologic time – all these hoops we would see God do than change our own mindset and perception towards scripture and its meanings. And that does a disservice to God as a Creator and the Truths represented in scripture. Instead, we should shed our prejudices in order to open ourselves to the workings of God and the truth of our origins as described in scripture.
Personally, I would much rather reexamine a reading of scripture in light of its own verbiage and God’s nature, and compare current scientific findings to it than invent ridiculous things for God to do to fit my humanly derived dogma. Or create a worldview from misplaced faith and insist that the sun revolves around the earth.
(1) – Ecclesiastes 1:5 (KJV) states “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. ” and Joshua 10:12-13 (KJV) “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies”. Both suggest in literal context that the sun orbits the earth in like manner of the moon.
(2) The bodies the sun, moon and stars & etc. are not created and set into motion until the fourth event (or “day”) Gen 1:14-19