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Questions on Divine Creation

Part Two

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

This four-part article is continued from Questions on Divine Creation: Part One.

This Part Two answers questions 3-7 of 13.

 

Note:

      I had to add a question to this four-part series due to comments I received about Part One. That brings the total number of questions to be answered to 13. That added question is the first one in this Part Two, as it logically comes next. But that means this Part Two will be a bit longer than the other three parts in this series.

 

3. Is there a “gap” of an indeterminate amount of time in-between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?

 

      1In [the] beginning, God made the heaven and the earth. 2But the earth was invisible [fig., unsightly] and unformed, and darkness [was] over the abyss [fig., deep], and [the] Spirit of God was moving over the water (Genesis 1:1-2).

 

Yes:

      This view is known as the “Gap Theory.” It is correct, as surely, God would not have created the earth “invisible [fig., unsightly] and unformed.” Other versions have: “without form, and void” (KJV/ NKJV), “formless and void” (NASB), “without shape and empty” (NET), and “formless and empty” (NIV).

      In whatever way it is translated, something must have happened after the original creation to leave the earth in this less than desirable state. That something was the fall of Satan. That event (recorded in Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Revelation 12:4) occurred in-between these two verses in Genesis. That rebellion caused the earth to become “formless and void.” Thus, what we have in the following verses in Genesis chapter one is the re-creation of the earth in six days.

      This “indeterminate amount of time” in-between these two verses constituted billions of years, thus allotting for the 12.7 billions years old universe claimed by secular scientists. But the re-created earth is only 6,000 years old, as indicated by a literal reading of the rest of the early chapters of Genesis. Therefore, you have both an “old universe” and a “young earth,” reconciling secular science and the Bible.

 

      This view is buttressed by Hebrews 11:3:

 

      “By faith we perceive the ages [fig., universe] to have been prepared by a word of God, for the [things] being visible not to have come from the [things] being seen.”

 

      The second clause of this verse describes the original Creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing). The first clause of the verse describes the re-creation or restoration of the earth after the fall of Satan. This is the case, because the Greek word rendered “have been prepared” actually means “restored” or “remade.”

      Thus, again, we have an initial pristine earth that was marred by the fall of Satan, leading to the need for the earth to be re-created. This again allots for an old universe but a young earth.

 

No:

      There are several problems with this Gap Theory.

 

      First, the “yes” interpretation is a classic case of eisegesis. This word means, “Eisegesis is when a person interprets and reads information into the text that is not there” (CARM).

      That is the opposite of exegesis, “Exegesis is when a person interprets a text-based solely on what it says. That is, he extracts out of the text what is there as opposed to reading into it what is not there” (CARM).

      In this case, the yes answer reads billions of years and an important historical event into a blank space, that blank space being the space in-between the period at the end of Genesis 1:1 and the capital letter at the beginning of Genesis 1:2. There is literally nothing in that space. Yet, billions of years are being read into it.

 

      Second, the interpretation of Hebrews 11:3 is similar, in that it reads billions of years into the blank space in-between the comma at the end of the first clause and the first letter of the second clause. But this interpretation is even worse in that the two clauses have to be reversed, with the event of the second clause said to be occurring billions of years before the event of the first clause.

 

      Third, as for the supposed evidence of this eisegesis in Genesis 1:2, would God have created the earth “formless and void?” Answer: Yes. How do I know that? Because that is what the text says!

      In other words, this Gap Theory starts with a nonbiblical assumption of what God would or would not do. That is again eisegesis. But exegesis is to let the test speak for itself. And what the text says is God created the earth “formless and void.”

      Why did He do so? I do not know. I could speculate. But that again would be eisegesis. All that I can know for certain is what the Bible explicitly says. And what it explicitly says is God created the earth “formless and void.” If you accept Biblical authority, then you must accept that is what God did. To claim He did not do so is to reject what the Bible explicitly says and to substitute your own ideas.

 

      Fourth, as for the supposed evidence of this eisegesis in Hebrews 1:3, that being, the word “prepared” in the first half of the verse can mean “restore,” that is a possible but not necessary meaning of the word.

      Following is the full lexical data are from the three lexicons in my BibleWorks program I use for my translation work. I’ve only omitted the Greek words, as they would not appear properly for those without the Greek alphabet installed on their devices. Bolding added.

 

Friberg, Analytical Greek Lexicon:

… with a basic meaning thoroughly prepare something to meet demands; (1) put in order, restore to a former condition, mend, repair (MT 4.21; GA 6.1); (2) prepare, make ready, complete (HE 13.21); (3) create, arrange, prepare (HE 11.3); (4) as thoroughly equipping and adjusting Christian character perfect, fully qualify, make fully adequate (1C 1.10)

 

Gingrich, Greek NT Lexicon:

1. put in order, restore 2 Cor 13:11; Gal 6:1; mend Mt 4:21; Mk 1:19. Complete, make complete 1 Cor 1:10; 1 Th 3:10; Hb 13:21; 1 Pt 5:10. … fully trained Lk 6:40.—2. prepare, make, create, design Mt 21:16; Ro 9:22; Hb 10:5; 11:3.* [pg 104]

 

Danker, Greek NT Lexicon:

1. ‘make someth. function by fitting out’, render …– a. fix (up) Mt 4:21; Mk 1:19. In ext. sense applied to pers. restore Gal 6:1. Pass. … mend your ways  2 Cor 13:11 (cp. our ‘get your act together’). – b. equip Lk 6:40; 1 Cor 1:10 ; 11:3; 13:21; 1 Pt 5:10. – c. supply, complete 1 Th 3:10. – d. prepare Hb 10:5. – 2. ‘design/create an entity’, produce Mt 21:16; Ro 9:22; 11:3.

 

      Thus, the word can mean to create, prepare or it can mean to re-create, restore. In such cases where a word can have more than one meaning, the first step in deciding how to render it is to see how the same writer uses that word elsewhere. In this case, the two other times the Writer to the Hebrews uses it, the word clearly means “prepared” or “created” not “restored.” Those instances are in Hebrews 10:5; 13:21.

      That is why the first two of these lexicons give the example of Hebrews 11:3 for the meaning of “prepare, make, create, design.” None give the verse as an example of the meaning of “restore.”

      The same situation is seen with Bible versions. Every translation I checked has the sense of create. None have the sense of restore. KJV/ NKJV/ NLT: framed, NASB/ NRSV: prepared, NET: set in order, NIV: formed, NAB: order, NJB: created.

 

      Fifth, this Gap Theory does not give you a young earth but an old universe, so it solves nothing. The reason it does not is because Genesis 1:2-2:3 is not describing only the creation (or re-creation in the “yes” interpreter’s mind) of the earth but of the entire universe. That is seen in verse 16, “And God made the two great lights, the greater light for beginning the day and the lesser light for beginning the night, and [He made] the stars.” The sun, moon, and stars constitute the universe.

      The word “made” here means just that, made. There is no possible idea of “remade” or “restored.” That is true for the Hebrew word and for the Greek word the Septuagint translators used to translate it, which is different than the Greek word used in Hebrews 11:3.

     

Holladay, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the OT (also on my BibleWorks program):

… make, manufacture Gn 321, lay out (garden) Am 914; — 2. make, apply Ex 3924 (w. al), Ez 4119 (w. el); — 3. make s.thg (acc.) into s.thg (l) Is 4417; w. 2 acc. 2K 316; make s.thg out of s.thg. (material) (2 acc.) Ex 3724; make s.thg with s.thg (b) 1C 188; — 4. God as sub., = create Gn 17; pt. pass. created Jb 4125, pt. act. maker = creator Jb 417;…

 

Friberg, Analytical Greek Lexicon (Fri):

I. active, with a basic meaning make, do, and the translation varying widely to suit the context;

 

Gingrich, Greek NT Lexicon (GIN):

I. act.—1. do, make—a. of external things make, manufacture, produce J 18:18; Ac 7:40; 9:39; Ro 9:21; Hb 8:5. Create Mk 10:6; Ac 7:50; 17:24; Rv 14.7—b. do, cause, accomplish, also keep, carry out, practice, etc. Mt 7:22; Mk 1:17; 2:23; 11:3; Lk 19:18; J 2:23; 3:21; 8:39 , 41; 12:16; Ac 3:12; 24:12; Ro 13:3f; 1 Cor 6:18; 2 Ti 4:5

 

Danker, Greek NT Lexicon (DAN):

… 1. ‘produce someth. material’ – a. of divine productivity make, create Mt 19:4; Lk 11:40; Ac 4:24; 7:50; 17:24; Hb 1:2; 12:27; Rv 14:7. – b. of human manufacture or construction make, construct Mt 17:4; Lk 9:33; J 2:15; 9:6, 11, 14; 18:18; Ac 7:40; 9:39; Ro 9:21; Hb 8:5; Rv 13:14b.

 

      The entire lexical entries are quite lengthy, as there are many possible additional meanings of both the Hebrew and Greek words. But among those other meaning, nowhere is there the sense of restore or re-create.

 

      Sixth, you also do not have two events in Hebrews 11:3. That is seen in that again, to have two events, you need to flip the two clauses of the verse and have the alleged event of the second clause (the creation of the entire universe) occur before the alleged event of the first clause (the re-creation of the earth). But taking the verse as written, in order and in its entirety, it is a straightforward summary of the one-time Creatio ex nihilo detailed in Genesis  1:1-2:3.

 

      Seventh, the fall of Satan could not have occurred before the events of Genesis 1:2-2:3. That is seen in that throughout those verses, God describes His creation as “good” (1:4,8,10,12,21,25) or “very good” (1:31). If there was already sin in the universe, it could not have been very good.

      But when did the fall of Satan occur? I cannot say for certain, as the Bible does not specifically say. But given that “very good” pronouncement of Genesis 1:31 and the introduction of the serpent as a tempter in Genesis 3:1, it most likely was sometime between those two events.

 

      Finally, I cannot emphasize enough that the Gap Theory is a classic case of eisegesis. If we are allowed to read billions of years of history into blank spaces in the Bible, then anything can be read into the Bible, and the Bible becomes meaningless. If we are to take the Bible seriously, we need to accept what it says and not try to read our preconceived notions into it. That is why I did not originally include a question about the Gap Theory, as I do not consider it a viable interpretation of the Bible.

 

4. How can the universe only be 6,000 years old if we can see light from stars and galaxies billions of light-years away?

 

      There are several ways that young-earth creationists have answered this question, but I will recount the one here that is directly related to Scripture passages. The other explanations get very complicated and are not directly related to Scripture passages.

      But first, it should be noted, the speed of light is 186,282 miles/ second. That translates into 5,878,625,373,183 miles/ year. That means, if an object is one light-year away, it is about 5.8 trillion miles away.

      Now for the explanation. Before getting to starlight, we will look at the creation of plants to illustrate the point. And before we get to Genesis, we will look at a verse from the Book of Jonah:

 

      And the LORD God commanded a gourd, and it came up over [the] head of Jonah to be a shade over his head to be shading him from his evil [things] [fig., miseries]. And Jonah rejoiced a great joy for the gourd (Jonah 4:6).

 

      Now, as you read this verse, did you picture God saying, “Let there be a gourd,” and poof, a gourd plant instantly appears fully grown? Or did you picture a gourd growing rapidly, high enough to shade Jonah? Personally, it is the latter. In other words, the plant grew in a normal fashion, except much more rapidly than normal. It would have been like watching a time-lapse photography of a plant growing.

      I hope the reader knows what I mean here. If you have ever watched a nature documentary, it will often show a plant growing from seed to several inches or feet high in a few seconds. Or a flower blooming in a few seconds. Of course, plants do not grow that fast and flowers do not bloom that quickly. It takes weeks, but by the use of time-lapse photography, you can see the whole growth cycle in a few seconds. However, for this gourd that shaded Jonah, the accelerated growth was reality.

 

Now to go back to Genesis:

      11And God said, “Let the earth produce [or, sprout] vegetation, grass sowing [fig., bearing] seed according to [its] kind and according to [its] likeness, and the fruit-bearing tree be making fruit whose seed [is] in it, according to [its] kind on the earth,” and it became so. 12And the earth brought forth vegetation, grass sowing [fig., bearing] seed according to [its] kind and according to [its] likeness, and the fruit-bearing tree made fruit whose seed [is] in it, according to [its] kind upon the earth, and God saw that [it was] good. 13And there became evening and there became morning, [the] third day (1:11-13).

 

      As you picture this scene, what did you picture in your mind? Did you envision all of the plants, flowers, and trees appearing immediately? Just poof, and there they are. Or did you envision a time-lapse photography scene of the vegetation growing as normal, except at a much-accelerated pace? Again, I envision the latter.

      To accomplish this would require the plants, flowers, and trees to grow at a rate that would be thousands or millions of times faster than normal. In other words, let’s say a given tree normally grows at a rate of a foot per year, but at this moment of creation, it might have grown at the rate of a foot per a second, so it would be 30 feet tall after just a half of a minute. That would be thousand or even millions of times faster than normal. But after this initial and very short period of very rapid growth, that tree would slow down to its normal growth pace of a foot/ year.

      There weren’t any people yet, but for the sake of illustration, let’s say there was one. And a few minutes after this period of rapid growth, that person comes across that 30’ tree. Knowing that type of tree usually grows at a rate of one foot/ year, he measures the tree, discovers it is 30’ tall and assumes it is 30 years old. That would be a logical assumption, if it had grown at its normal pace, but it was fact only a few minutes old. But it then began its normal growth rate, so that a decade later, it would be 40’ tall.

      Now let’s take this approach to starlight. Genesis simply says on Day Four of Creation Week, “and [He made] the stars” (1:16b). Now, did you envision the stars being created instantaneously with their starlight instantaneously appearing all over the universe? Again, just poof, and it is all there? Or did you envision the stars forming as stars normally do, and then the starlight shining out from them over the universe as normal, except at a much-accelerated pace? Again, I envision the latter.

      In other words, when God created the stars, at the moment of their initial creation and igniting into fireballs, the light exploded out from them at a rate thousands or millions of times faster than it normally travels. But after a very short period of time, probably a few minutes to a few hours, that speed of traveling starlight slowed down to its current speed of 186,000 miles/ second. As a result, very distant stars could be seen from earth very soon after their formation. It would not take billions of years for their light to reach the earth.

      But then an astronomer today looks through his telescope at a particular star. He does the necessary intricate calculations and determines that it is a billion light years away. He then logically concludes that it took one billion years for that light to reach earth. But in fact, it only took a few minutes or hours, as the light traveled all the way here during the initial period of very rapid out-spreading of light from that star. It is traveling at 186,000 miles/ second now, just as that tree was growing at one foot/ year when that person first observed it. But prior to those observations, the speed of light and of growth of that tree were much greater for a very short period of time.

      To be clear, I am not saying God created the starlight at the same time as He created the stars. That would be the poof attitude towards creation. I say that as some young-earth creationists do assert that idea, that God created the beams of light from star to earth instantaneously at the same moment as He created the star. But that would have the light initially reaching earth in a different manner than normal. My theory is that the light traveled here as normal, except initially at a much-accelerated rate.

      I am also not saying that the speed of light has slowed down over the millennia since creation. That is another theory that some creationists have proposed; that light speed has been changing, slowing down at an exponential rate. But that would mean the speed of light is not a constant, and that would break many laws of physics. The “C” for instance in Einstein’s famous E = MC2 formula stands for “constant” meaning the speed of light. But if the speed of light is not a constant, then the whole theory of relativity breaks down.

      Again, I am saying the speed of light was much faster than it is today for just a few minutes or hours after the moment of the creation of the stars on Day Four of Creation Week. But it has been traveling at its normal pace ever since then.

 

5. Is the light of Genesis 1:3 the Big Bang?

 

And God said, “Let there become light, and there became light”
(Genesis 1:3).

 

      The situation here is opposite of what was just proposed about plants and starlight. This initial light seems to have appeared immediately; poof, and it was there. And that incredible flash of light seems to have come out of nowhere. That does sound like how cosmologist describe the Big Bang. There was nothing, then out of nothing, a great light flashes, and the universe begins to form.

      Of course, cosmologist haven’t a clue where that light came from, why it all of the sudden flashed, and where all the energy and matter for the universe came from. But if this verse is in fact describing that initial moment of the Big Bang, then we have answers to all of those questions.

      That light flashed because God commanded for it to. Its energy came from the creative power of God. And at that moment, all of the aspects of the creation came into being. That is seen in the first verse of the Bible, “In [the] beginning (time), God made the heaven (space) and the earth (matter).”

      The problem here is, the verses are out of order. Verse one has the creation of time, space, and matter. Verse two indicates the earth is already existing, though in an “unformed” or “formless” state. Then this great light is commanded to appear in verse three.

      But it is possible that verses one and two are introductory statements, with the creation narrative proper starting with verse three. In that case, that light could be the Big Bang. But still, it cannot be said with certainty that this light is the light of the Big Bang. But if not, then it also cannot be said for certainty what it was. But it might have been the light that was divided from darkness in verse four and the source of the light for the “mornings and evenings” of Days One to Three, before the sun was created on Day Four.

 

6. What does it mean for human beings to be created in the image of God?

 

“Let Us make humanity according to Our image and according to [Our] likeness”
(Genesis 1:26).

 

      This creation image or likeness remains to this day (James 3:9). It is not physical, as God does not have a physical body (John 4:24). Instead, it refers to immaterial aspects of our nature (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10).

      Looking at the last two verses, Ephesians 4:24 refers to “righteousness and devoutness of [or, dedication to] the truth.” Some versions have “true righteousness and holiness” (NKJV). Colossians 3:10 refers to “full [or, true] knowledge.”. Thus, both of these verses have an aspect of truth and knowledge. That is a reference to the intelligence or thinking ability of human beings.

      But are not some animals intelligent, like chimps and dolphins? Yes, but at a level far below that of humans. For instance, I once heard an illustration of the intelligence of chimps made by saying that if you put a chimp in a room with a banana tied to the ceiling and a bunch of boxes in it, the chimp will eventually figure out that he can stack the boxes on top of each other and climb up on them to reach the banana. And it takes intelligence to figure that out. However, that is a far cry from putting a man on the moon or a rover on mars. There is just an immense difference between the intellectual capabilities of humans versus any animal.

      These verses also refer to righteousness and holiness. These are indications of the moral aspects of humans. We have an innate sense of morality, that some things are right and that some things are wrong. But animals only act on instinct, doing what is good for their own survival, with no sense of right and wrong.

      Humans also have personality, a sense of “I am,” which there is no indication that animals have. We also philosophize about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and other such things, which again, there is no indication that animal engage in such thinking or conversations.

      All of these attributes would be called the “communicable” attributes of God. By that is meant, these are aspects of God that God can commute or give to humans. The “incommunicable” attributes of God, like omnipotence, which God cannot commute to us, are aspects of His nature that separate Him from us, while the communicable attributes separate us from animals.

      But the important point here is, it is hard for the atheistic evolutionist to explain where these aspects of humanity came from. The best they can say is there is some survival value to them. That might be the case for some points, like our sense that murder is wrong could come from the fact that if we killed each other en masse, we would not survive as a species. But our sense of “I am” or philosophizing about the meaning of life hardly has a survival value.

      But it must be noted, though this image of God was not erased by the Fall, it was defaced. As a result, we do not always think logically as God does. Our conscience does not always get it right as to what is right and wrong, which is why we need the Word of God to define morality for us. We do not always act in a holy or righteous way, which is why we need forgiveness. That God provided for us by the death of His Son for our sins.

 

7. Where did Cain get his wife?

 

And Cain knew [sexually] his wife, and having conceived, she gave birth to Enoch
(Genesis 4:17).

 

      Where did Cain get his wife? That is a common question raised about this verse, as so far, the Biblical text has only recorded the births of Cain and Abel (Gen 4:1f). However, later we are told about Adam, “he fathered sons and daughters” (Gen 5:4). Therefore, Adam and Eve gave birth to many sons and many daughters. Cain would have married one of those daughters, which is to say, he married one of his sisters.

      But is not that a problem? At this point in human history, no. The reason we today consider marriage between siblings wrong is because they are very likely to give birth to children with serious birth defects. The reason for that is, close relatives have the same mutations in their DNA, and those mutations being passed on by both parents would lead to birth defects.

      However, Adam and Eve were created perfect, and that included their DNA being mutation-free. As such, it would not be problematic in early human history for siblings and other close relatives to marry and bear children. That is why Abraham could marry his half-sister and bear a son by her with no apparent birth defects (Gen 20:12; 21:1-3).

      But, as time goes on, mutations will develop and accumulate, so siblings and close relatives bearing children will become problematic. That is why Leviticus 18:6-10 forbids any form of sexual relations between close relatives, including simply seeing their nakedness. I expound on these points at length in my book God’s Sex Plan: Volume One.

      But here, Cain was of course Adam and Eve’s first son, while Abraham lived not too long after the catastrophic flood of Noah. Again, at that time, human DNA would not yet have so degraded that progeny from such close relatives would be subject to birth defects. But Leviticus was written almost 700 years after the time of Abraham, with Abraham having been born in 2166 BC, and Leviticus being written shortly after the Exodus of 1446 BC.

      In those intervening seven centuries, human DNA would have degenerated, so that now, children born from close family members would be subject to devastating birth defects. Also, human sin had increased so that the family dynamic would be more damaged by marriage between such close family members, even if physically unrelated, as is the case with step-siblings, which is why such relations are also forbidden in Leviticus.

      But it is important to note, if humans had begun evolving a million years ago as evolution dictates, then an additional 700 years would be meaningless to the degradation of human DNA. But if humans were created by God just a couple of millennia prior to the time of Abraham, then another 700 years would be very significant. Thus, this argument makes most sense on a young-earth Creationist timescale.

      Moreover, if humans had begun evolving a million years ago, then human DNA would have accumulated so many mutations, it would have become unstable by now, and we would have already become extinct. But the rate of mutations indicate that humans have only existed for a few thousand years, as does differences in human mitochondrial DNA (Origins TV show, various episodes with geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom).

 

Questions on Divine Creation: Part Three

 

Note:

      Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from: Analytical-Literal Translation of the Bible (ALT). Copyright 1999-2022 by Gary F. Zeolla (www.Zeolla.org).

 

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

Questions on Divine Creation: Part Two. Copyright 2022 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.zeolla.org/christian).

The above article originally appeared in Darkness to Light newsletter.
It was posted on this website on March 2, 2022.

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