By Andy Betts
We cannot fail to be amazed by the world we live in; the natural beauty that surrounds us, the vastness of the universe, and the incredible variety of life that is everywhere present. If we try to think about the universe we live in, we are left dazzled by the shear scale of the thing, something the human mind just cannot comprehend. Our planet earth, as we know, is part of the solar system of planets, which revolve around the sun. This solar system is a tiny part of a galaxy called the Milky Way, which consists of anywhere from 100-400 billion stars (scientist are not sure.) The Milky Way is so large that it would take something traveling at the speed of light 100 000 years to cross it. But that is only our own galaxy. Astronomers estimate that there are up to 100 billion such galaxies in the universe. It is no wonder that the human mind cannot comprehend it.
But how did it all get there, and how is it ordered? The more scientists find out, the more they realize that it is not just a huge haphazard, chaotic mess, but that all things obey certain laws. From the arrangement of these huge galaxies, down to the movements of the parts of an atom, all things follow a precise order. So much so in fact, that the famous physicist Professor Stephen Hawking said: "The more we examine the universe, we find it is not arbitrary at all but obeys certain well defined laws that operate in different areas. It seems very reasonable to suppose that there may be some unifying principles, so that all laws are part of some bigger law."
The logical question here of course, is that if these laws exist, who arranged them, who is the author of this great organization? We as Bible students believe that it is the work of God; Job chapter 26 tells us: "He stretcheth out the North over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing... By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens," while in chapter 38 God asks: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?"
It is a truly humbling experience to contemplate the vastness of the universe, but perhaps of more immediate concern to us on planet earth is how did we, and all life, get here; how long have we been here, and is life the result of chance or design? Many people today claim that all life is the result of evolution, and that all living things started off millions of years ago as single cells which formed as the result of an accident, and which evolved over time into the countless millions of different life forms we see around us today. Many others however, believe the Bible’s account of creation, and it is this that I would like to share with you today.
Can we though rely on the Bible's account of creation, or is it just a myth, or a folk tale that has been passed down over the ages? Well the Lord Jesus Christ believed it; he said in Matthew 19 vs 4: "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female." Likewise the apostle Paul, who addressed the people of Athens in Acts chapter 17 verses 24-25. Here we read; "God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things!" The Bible's record of creation is reliable and can be believed by all who believe in and trust God, those who would follow Paul's advice to Timothy to: "Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called."
The Bible's account of the start of life on earth is found, not surprisingly, at the very start of the Bible, in Genesis chapter 1. Here we read, in verse 1: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Straight away here we find a very different idea to the one about the accidental origin of life, because we see that there was a creator: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," and by looking at certain dates that are in the Bible, people have been able to work out that this happened about 6000 years ago.
Now this causes a problem for many people, because evidence from geology shows that the earth is much older than this, but a careful reading of Genesis chapter 1 shows that this is no barrier to a belief in it's account of creation. What we are presented with, in verse 2, is the planet earth, (possibly millions of years old, we are not told,) covered with water and empty of all life. Verse 2 says: "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." What caused the earth to be in this desolate state we are not told, nor how long it had been like it, only that this was the state of affairs when the Bible account of the creation of this order of things began. What happened next was the start of the great miracle of creation: Verse 2 continues: "And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
This was the start of day 1 when God said, in verse 3 of Genesis chapter 1: "Let there be light: and there was light." Reading on we find: "And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." Here then we have an account of the first day, when God caused there to be light upon the earth, and when he set up the earth's revolving motion on it's axis which causes there to be day and night.
The more observant usually say at this point: "but doesn't Genesis 1 vs 6 tell us that God made the sun and moon and stars on the fourth day? How come then there was light on the first day?" The answer to this is simple: the sun, moon and stars had been around for as long as the earth, but they were not visible from the earth's surface because of the thick clouds that enveloped it. On this first day, God caused the light to diffuse through this cloud so that it became light, but the individual lights of the sun and moon were not clearly visible until day 4.
So then, what was next in God's plan after the shedding of light on the still empty, water covered earth? Verses 6-8 of Genesis chapter 1 detail day two, when we find God saying: "Let there be a firmament (or expanse) in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament heaven."
Here we see that on the second day, the atmosphere, called heaven, was formed, by which the vapor was separated by a firmament from the water beneath which was the sea, and allowed to float in masses above the waters. Verse 20 shows us that this firmament was the sky when it says that birds: "may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven."
Next, on day three, was the gathering together of the waters into seas, and the creation of dry land. Once this was done, and still on day three, we read in verse 11: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth; and it was so." This was in preparation for the creatures which were soon to appear and which would require a food source.
On day four, as I have already mentioned, God made, or rather made to appear, the lights in the sky of the sun, moon and stars. Isaiah chapter 40 tells us, in verse 22: "it is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in." God positioned the earth in it's correct relationship with the sun, moon and stars, so that day and night, the seasons and the tides, were all properly influenced by them.
On the fifth day, God created living creatures, both in the air and in the sea, verses 20-21 show us this, saying: "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind: and God saw that it was good." God gave these creatures an instruction, in verse 22: "And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth."
To summarize what we have seen so far, we saw on day one the creation of light, and on day two the firmament or air which divided the waters. Day three saw the creation of dry land and vegetation, and on day four the sun, moon and stars became visible from the earth's surface. On day five God created the living creatures in the seas and in the air, but not yet on the land.
Next came the most important development from our point of view, day six, and we find this in Genesis 1 reading from verse 24: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (Verse 26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Verse 31 says: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." So it was that the great act of creation was completed, and Verses l & 2 of Genesis chapter 2 tell us: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he bad made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."
Some people believe in principle with the Bible's account of creation, but rather than accepting what it tells us in full, they try to integrate it with other ideas from evolution, and so the six literal days become to them six periods of a thousand years or even longer. This though not only demonstrates a halfhearted faith in the Bible's word, but is also refuted by evidence from nature. The interdependence of plant and animal life, known as SYMBIOSIS, shows that creation required a short time: for example, flowers need insects and insects need plants.
Six days was all the time necessary for the all powerful, all knowing God to bring about the works of creation; the Bible says: "He spake and it was done," and in Exodus 20 vs 11 Moses told the Israelites: "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day." In an attempt to discredit the Genesis account of creation, some people try to claim that it is based on ancient myths about how the earth was created, however, as the Illustrated Bible Dictionary says: "No myth has yet been found which explicitly refers to the creation of the universe" (and what myths there are) "are marked by polytheism and the struggles of deities for supremacy in marked contrast to the Hebrew monotheism of Genesis l & 2." Indeed, the British Museum has stated that: "The fundamental conceptions of the Babylonian and Hebrew accounts (of creation) are essentially different."
The Genesis account was written by Moses, but the real author was someone who was actually there at the creation: God. Even scientists who do not believe in the Bible admit that the order of events as outlined in Genesis is exactly as they would have expected them to occur. The geologist Wallace Pratt wrote: "If I as a geologist were called upon to explain briefly our modern ideas of the origin of the earth and the development of life on it to a simple, pastoral people, such as the tribes to whom the book of Genesis was addressed, I could hardly do better than follow rather closely much of the language of the first chapter of Genesis." The Genesis account which even scientists agree to be a scientific and logical order of events details ten stages: the beginning, the earth in darkness surrounded by gases and water, the coming of light, the formation of an expanse or atmosphere, the appearance of dry land, vegetation, the appearance of the sun and the start of discernible seasons, sea life and birds, mammals, and finally man. It has been estimated that the chances of Moses getting these events in the right order are 1 in 3,600,000. So to claim that the Genesis account is just the product of a man's imagination is to fly in the face of both science and mathematical probability.
Turning back then to the word of God, we find a more detailed account of the creation of the first man and woman in Genesis chapter 2, where we find, reading from verse 7: "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Verse 18) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Verses 19 & 20 tell us how all the living creatures were brought before the man, who name was Adam, and that he gave them all names, but, verse 20 concludes, "for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
When the woman, Eve, was formed from the rib which was taken out of Adam, it established a law of sympathy between them which does not exist between other animals, as Adam said in verse 23 of Genesis 2: "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh... Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" Jesus referred to this law in Mark chapter 19 where we find reading from verse 6: "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder"
Turning back to Genesis chapter 2, we read in verse 7 talking about the first man Adam: "And the LORD God.. breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." This breath of life which was breathed into Adam, is not restricted to humans, it was also given to the animals as well.
If we turn to Genesis chapter 7 we find an account of the great flood, and we read in verse 15 of Genesis 7: "And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two, of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life." All the creatures that were outside the ark died in the flood, and they too possessed this same breath of life, as we read in verse 22: "All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died." So we can see that this breath of life which God breathed into Adam and all the other animals was not a source of everlasting life as has been supposed by some.
A look at some of the words originally used will prove this. When Adam in verse 7 of Genesis 2 was said to have become a living soul, it simply meant that he had become a living creature. The words in Hebrew are Nephesh Chayiah, meaning a creature that is living, and these words are used of animals as well as man. Genesis 1 vs 24 says: "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth." Genesis 2 vs 19 says: "Whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." In both these cases the words are nephesh Chayiah which were translated as living soul when applied to Adam, but which simply means living creature.
As we have seen from reading the Bible account of creation, the work was performed on six days, and on the seventh day, God rested: this doesn't mean to imply that God was in anyway tired or in need of rest it merely means that he ceased from his labors. As we read the Bible more, we discover that this seven day pattern, while being literally true, is also a kind of allegory, a condensed parable if you like, of God's seven thousand year plan for the earth. We read in 2 Peter 3 vs 8: "that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
Man has been given six thousand years in which to develop and do his own work, but the seventh period of a thousand years will be one of rest under the rule of the kingdom of God, when as Paul said: "there remaineth a rest for the people of God."
This then is the Bible's story of creation; it is scientific, logical and beautiful, it shows us that rather than being the result of chance, and accident, all things from sub atomic particles to the universe itself are the result of a loving, intelligent, powerful creator whom we call God. At the first creation we are told in Job, when the foundations and cornerstones were laid, "the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy."
Why is it then that so many people dismiss this account of creation in favour of the theory of evolution? One of the most important reasons is the fact that evolution is all we are taught at school, the educational systems of the world teach it as an established scientific fact, instead of the unproved theory it is, and no opposition to it is tolerated. Dr. Donald Calbreath wrote in the magazine American Laboratory: "Evolution is presented as reality, not as a concept that can be questioned. The authority of the educational system then compels belief...A student is not permitted to hold personal beliefs or to state them: if the student does so, he or she is subjected to ridicule and criticism by the instructors."
This is typical of the attitude found all over the world, not just in institutions of learning, but in magazines, newspapers and on television; no where is the theory of evolution ever publicly questioned, so it is little wonder that so many people blindly go along with it. A typical example of the arrogant ascertain that evolution is a fact beyond question is found in the words of Richard Dawkins writing in the New Scientist magazine. In an article entitled The Necessity of Dawinism he wrote: "Dawin’s theory is now supported by all the available relevant evidence, and it’s truth is not doubted by any serious modern biologist."
That’s quite a bold statement for someone to make, but is he right, or are there serious modern biologists who not only doubt evolution but actually reject it? There certainly are; but that doesn’t stop other supporters of evolution from making wild statements that they cannot back up. A book called "A view of Life" states: "evolution is a fact...we might as well doubt that the earth revolves about the sun, or that hydrogen and oxygen make water." And it also declares that the theory of evolution is as much a fact as the existence of gravity. But we can prove scientifically by experiments that the earth orbits the sun, that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, and that gravity exists, but where is the proof for evolution? This same book admits: "debate rages about theories of evolution," so how can it say that it is a proven fact like the other things? This is a good example of how scientists do not always base their statements on proven facts. In the book Missing Links, David Pilbeam comments on this, saying that scientist: "are also people, and...much is at stake; for there are glittering prizes in the form of fame and publicity." He acknowledges that evolution is "a science powered by individual ambitions and so susceptible to preconceived beliefs...Modern [evolutionists]" he says, "are no less likely to cling to erroneous data that supports their preconceptions than were earlier investigators [who] dismissed objective assessment in favour of the notions they wanted to believe."
We can easily see how scientists and educators who have committed themselves to a belief in evolution would never admit to the possibility of being wrong, working instead to try to prove their preconceived ideas rather than open mindedly looking for the truth. This approach, as well as being morally suspect, is also unscientific, a fact that did not escape W.R. Thompson who wrote a foreword in the centennial edition of Darwin’s The Origin of Species.
He said: "A long enduring and regrettable effect of the success of The Origin was the addiction of biologists to unverifiable speculation...The success of Dawinism was accompanied by a decline in scientific integrity...This situation, where scientific men rally to the defense of a doctrine they are unable to define scientifically, much less demonstrate with scientific rigor, attempting to maintain it’s credit with the public by suppression of criticism and the elimination of difficulties, is abnormal and undesirable in science."
He is not alone in being concerned by the attitude of the scientific community, Professor of Anthropology Anthony Ostric criticized the blind acceptance of man’s evolution from apes, saying: "at best it is only a hypothesis, and not a well supported one at that...there is no evidence that man has not remained essentially the same since the first evidence of his appearance." He further stated that the majority of others had thrown in their lot with the evolutionists, "for fear of being rejected from serious academic circles." As another scientist wrote in Hospital Practice magazine: "Science has always prided itself upon it’s objectivity, but I’m afraid that we scientists are rapidly becoming victims of the prejudiced, closed minded thinking we have so long abhorred."
Verse 1 of Psalm 14 says: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God," while from 1 Corinthians 3 vs 19 we learn: "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God," and the fact is that more and more people are coming to realize that the unproved claims of the evolutionists do not stand up to close examination.
In an article entitled A Physicist Looks At Evolution, the physicist H.S. Lipson wrote concerning the origin of life: "The only acceptable explanation is creation. I know that this is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory that we do not like if the experimental evidence supports it." He went on to say that after The Origin of Species, "evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to bend their observations to fit in with it."
The Bible account of creation, as we saw, fits in perfectly with the known scientific and geological facts. It was given to Moses by God so that we might know that God is the creator of all things, and that he is the only God. Evidence shows that the belief in only one God (monotheism) is the earliest form of religion, as we would expect from the Bible’s record, and that this belief was corrupted over time as the various people of the earth spread out to different parts of the world. Dr. Bell Dawson said that the Babylonian and Chinese religions, and the earliest Vedic hymns of India are first monotheistic, and Dr. Rawlinson concluded: "The earliest nations believed in one supreme God, not by religious instinct, or reason, but by revelation."
Last century the Bible came under a lot of criticism from people who doubted not only that it’s account of creation was true, but also the historical validity of anything it said. Perhaps the most famous archaeologist of all, Sir Leonard Wooley wrote: "There arose towards the close of the nineteenth century an extreme school of critics which was ready to deny the historical foundation of practically everything related in the earlier books of the Old Testament." Some of these critics even went so far as to suggest that writing did not come into common usage until the time of Solomon and so the Bible accounts of creation and other early history could not be relied upon to be true. One of these critics wrote in 1892: "The time, of which the pre-Mosaic narratives treat, is a sufficient proof of their legendary character. It was a time prior to all knowledge of writing."
Today we know that this is completely untrue; archaeological evidence shows that writing was in use long before the time of Moses. In his book From the Stone Age to Christianity, William Foxwell Albright said: "We must again emphasize, that alphabetic Hebrew writing was employed in Canaan and neighboring districts from the Patriarchal Age on, and that the rapidity with which forms of letters changed is clear evidence of common use." As another archaeologist put it: "That the question should ever have been raised whether Moses could have known how to write, appears to us now absurd."
This is yet another example of hoe the arrogant and biased claims of the Bible’s opponents have been proven to be without substance. The more that is uncovered about the past, the more we come to see that the Bible is a true and accurate record, not only of the creation of the world we live in, but of it’s early history as well. Many things that were doubted because they appeared only in the Bible have since been proven to be true by the work of the archaeologists. People such as the Assyrian king Sargon and the Babylonian Belshazzar, whose existence was denied by historians, have since been proven to exist just as the Bible records. As the historian Moshe Pearlman wrote: "Suddenly, skeptics who had doubted the authenticity even of the historical parts of the Old Testament began to revise their views."
I’ll end with the words of two men of science who share our confidence in the Bible being a true and accurate record. The former director of the British Museum Frederic Kenyon wrote: "Archaeology has not yet said it’s last word; but the results achieved confirm what faith would suggest, that the Bible can do nothing but gain from an increase of knowledge." And the well known archaeologist Nelson Glueck said: "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible."