|Author: Doug Sharp
The following is a series of related questions posed by a reader. He first lays out what he thinks the chronology of creation is according to the Bible, then proceeds to point out some problems.
Chronology of Creation
- Heaven was created first.
- Earth was created next.
- God was over the water so water was next.
- Light was created.
- Who created God?
- What is the definition of Heaven? Is that the place where God lives or is that the place he put the stars? And are these the same places?
- Earth is created next. Ok, then try to show evidence that the Earth was here before the Sun. Oh yeah, And if the Earth was created first then it must be at the center of the universe right? I think that’s why they hanged Galileo.
- Light was created. But no sun? Maybe it was x-rays or the Big Bang?? Light needs a source.
5, If the Earth is formless and empty how did god hover over the waters? Thats illogical Mr. Spock. (sic)
First of all, I will point out the obvious errors then deal with the questions.
(1) Galileo was not hanged, he died a natural death. An excellent discussion of the Galileo affair can be found at this site: http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Issues/GalileoAffair.html.
(2) It is obvious that God Himself is closely associated with Light as referenced in the first chapter of John.
(3) Heaven (definition following) and earth were created at the same time (Genesis 1:1).
Next, let’s deal with the questions themselves.
(1) Who created God?
Since God is eternal, past and present, this is a nonsensical question. However, let’s suppose you answered that and said there was a super-god who created God. Therefore, God wouldn’t be God any more, the super-god would be. Then you could ask the question again and posit a super-super-god. You could keep playing that game until you get tired of it and realize that ultimately you have to end up with a being that is eternal, such as is God. Some say that God is outside of time, or that time has no hold on Him.
(2) The next question is a subject of a number of interesting debates among creationists, and the problem does lie in the definition, as heaven in English or the Hebrew may mean several things. In some contexts it means the atmosphere, others it refers to the solar system and beyond, thirdly it means the place where God dwells. Now, if you take the first definition, it actually solves a few of these problems for us. I personally believe that this account in Genesis was written from the perspective of an observer on the earth, told by Adam, who passed it down to Noah, then written down by Moses.
(3) This brings us to the question concerning the sun on the fourth day. We have several possible explanations here. In the first day God said, let there be light. He could have been the source of that light, as many people try to argue. However, Days 1, 2 and 3 all talk about an evening and a morning, so there had to be a light source already. That leads me to the conclusion that the sun and moon already existed on day one, but were appointed to be lights to divide the day from the night and for signs and seasons and days and years. This could have happened on Day 4 simply by removing the cloud cover so an observer on earth could see them.
This idea solves another problem. God created grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree on the third day. Without the presence of an already existing sun, these creations would have been instantly frozen (unless, of course God kept them supernaturally heated with His own light).
A question remains, did God create the entire universe ex nihilo (out of nothing) at the same time he created the earth, or was the universe always there as part of the vast eternal past? I do not think that there is enough information given in the Bible for us to make that determination for certain. I do indeed believe, though, that the solar system was likely created at the same time as the earth. One point to ponder on this, since God is eternal, past and present, that would mean that if the universe was created at the same time the earth was created, God dwelled in eternal nothingness before that? That is mind-boggling. However there is clear indication from scriptures that there was much activity that occurred in heaven before creation. So my current position is that the earth is young as indicated from the chronology of scripture, but I think it is not required from a scriptural viewpoint to assign a similar age to the universe. The scriptural arguments to do so are not as compelling.
There are other theories that are worth studying in depth related to this subject where creationists propose a young universe. The first is the white-hole cosmology proposed by D. Russell Humphreys. Go to http://www.answersingenesis.org and search on “Starlight and Time” to view various articles about this subject. The second idea is proposed by Barry Setterfield concerning the possibility that the speed of light is decaying and is not constant. You can view the implications of this theory at http://www.setterfield.org. A third idea (proposed by David Harris in 1978) is that the speed of light was infinite at creation, but at the fall of man, the speed of light began to decay outward in an ever-expanding bubble from the earth. These ideas have been proposed in answer to the question “if the universe is young, then how come we can see light from stars millions of light years away?”
There is nothing in scripture that requires us to believe that the sun revolves around the earth. However, all motion is relative, and if you choose your point of reference to be an observer on the earth, the sun does indeed revolve around you, and it is perfectly ok to say that the sun rises and sets. We use that terminology today without people thinking we are foolish or inaccurate. But the best evidence against geocentrism is that parallax measurements to nearby stars detect a shift in position in the sky in relation to the sun. By that we can determine distance to that star using trigonometry, and verify the earth’s orbit relative to the sun.
(4) Concerning the creation of light, God is the source of Light. However we have already said that scriptures hint that the sun was present from Day 1, so that question is moot if that is true.
(5) How could God hover over the waters when the earth was without form and void? What this means is that the earth was a shapeless mass of water vapor completely covered by oceans, but void of life. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. God’s presence brought the light, and perhaps at that time God brought the earth into orbit around the sun. It is clear that God divided the light from the darkness at that time, indicating the beginning of the rotation of the earth in relationship to the sun.