The harmony of Genesis' creationism and science
An essay donated by Sue Haskell
Given the current and past battles fought over "creationism" vs. "evolution"
it is deeply ironic that the creation story in the book of Genesis. which is
respected by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, turns out to be quite accurate –
startling accurate. …… As with all disagreements, wars, etc., it is our
perspectives that distort the Truth. When opponents are willing to change their
perspectives (often disguised as beliefs) Truth can emerge. In the case of the
Genesis creation "story" it takes only a slight change in where we view the
action to realize that science and God are in agreement!
So, imagine being present at creation as described in Genesis, but, not only
being present -- but on the planet during creation. How would you describe what
was happening? For most of us without extensive scientific training we would
probably describe it much as it is described in the first chapter of Genesis.
Studying today’s Big Bang theory and how science now understands our earth’s
beginnings, and given that you experience it from the perspective of being on
the planet - there is - surprisingly - no difference between the timing of
events in the Genesis story and science! Given the perspective of being on the
planet, following is the Genesis creation story verse by verse along with our
current scientific understanding of those events:
Genesis, Chapter One:
"In the beginning .....the earth was formless and empty..." (verse 1) Indeed,
according to the "big bang" theory, in the beginning, after the initial big
bang, the earth was a whirling ball of gas - formless and empty.
"..darkness was over the face of the deep and the spirit of God was hovering
over the waters.." (verse 2) As the gases condensed a solid core began to form.
Thick clouds of condensation enveloped the planet. And then it began to rain and
rain and rain for thousands of years. Gradually, the earth became entirely
covered with an immense ocean. However, no light reached the planet due to the
still thick cloud cover of vapor. There was only darkness.
"And God said, ‘Let there be light.’ and there was light. God saw the light was
good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’
and darkness he called ‘night’ " (verse 3-5) Gradually the earth‘s cover of
clouds began to diminish slightly and a pale dimness from the sun began to reach
the planet. As you viewed this from the planet and looked up you could begin to
notice a difference between day and night.
"And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water
from water.’ So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse
from the water above it. God called the expanse ‘sky’ ." (verse 6-8) It must
have looked as if the sky, the rain and oceans were one for many millions of
years. Over time however, the condensation in the sky became less heavy. If you
looked out over the waters you could gradually begin to differentiate between
water on the planet’s surface i.e. the oceans and clouds of condensation in the
atmosphere. There was a separation between the waters.
"And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let
dry ground appear... and it was so. God called the dry ground "land" and the
gathered waters he called "seas’." (verse 9,10) After the earth began to cool, a
crust formed and then began to shift, forming mountains that arose out of the
vast seas. Volcanoes erupted and also formed land above the waters. The waters
gathered into oceans and seas.
"Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees
on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’
And it was so." (verse 11) According to scientific theory today, the first, more
highly organized life forms were plants that began to proliferate on the new
"And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the
day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark the seasons and days and
years and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light to the
Earth. ." (verse 14,15) It was most likely thousands of years after plants
evolved that a truly clear day occurred on the planet. A person standing on the
planet’s surface could actually begin to see clearly the stars, a moon and the
sun for the first time. It was not that God had just created these heavenly
forms but it would have been the first time a person could have seen them
clearly. Man later learned that indeed the stars, the angle of the sun and moon
could mark the seasons and the days and the years.
"Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth
across the expanse of the sky." (verse 20) Modern science declares that animal
life began in the oceans. Then life migrated to the land and the time of the
great reptiles occurred. Interestingly, it has just been in the last few years
that scientists discovered some dinosaur fossils covered with feathers and
postulate these gradually developed into the first of our modern creatures --
"Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock,
creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its
kind." (verse 24) From our fossil records we know that our modern, warm blooded
land animals evolved next. And, each does produce according to its kind.
"Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them
rule over the fish of the sea and birds of the air, over the livestock, over all
the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground....’. (verse
26) Lastly, again according to present day science, man arrived on the planet
and indeed is the master of the planet and all that is on it.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male
and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and
increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea
and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the
ground." (verse 28) Man has indeed multiplied and has "subdued the planet and
rules" over it. The only part of this "story" that science has not yet "proved"
is that we are created in the image of God. Given the Truth of the creation
story up to this point - perhaps that is the next big scientific discovery.
It appears from the above analysis of the Genesis Creation story that science
can now prove the validity of this ancient story -- a "story" developed
thousands of years ago by a nondescript band of nomadic herdsman. So, how could
these ancient peoples have acquired so accurate a story that has only been
proven by science in the last 100 years?
What is just as interesting is the fact that this story survived – obviously
intact – over an immense period of time having been passed on verbally for
hundreds of years and then written and rewritten for hundreds of more years. It
must have made little sense to these early people. How could they have conceived
of an earth that was formless and void? And, given the variety of creation
stories that arose from early civilizations, it would be immensely tempting to
change it to something that would make more sense to a primitive culture.
However, given the above explanation, not a word is out of place.
Instead of the story being viewed as an anomaly, one cultures "creation story"
and in fact often laughed at by our more advanced civilization, it presents us
with an even more amazing enigma…where did it come from?