GENESIS AND GEOLOGY
We believe the Bible is
the Word of God. Let us understand, first of all, that Genesis is God's
revelation. Geology, on the other hand , is man's invention. Since God knows all
the facts this revelation can never be in error. If Genesis and Geology differ
the error must be on the side of Geology.
Who can read the first
chapter of Genesis without being impressed by its uniqueness ? Rather common,
yet so marvelous! There is no attempt to argue and to prove the authenticity of
the facts presented. The Author is not bound by Science since lie is so much
bigger than man's discovery.
The Bible is not a book of
science. Its primary aim is rather to point sinners to Christ Jesus. Yet it
contains no scientific error even though it basically is not a book on science.
Since the Bible was never intended to teach people science, it simply narrates
the 'fact' of creation without explaining the 'why'. It is good to have
knowledge but there is a foolishness which is more blessed.
The General Concept among
Christians regarding the first chapter of Genesis is that the very first verse
is a kind of general introduction. The writer of Genesis, people speculate,
outlines what he intends to say in the first sentence and then proceeds to
explain it in detail. Having mentioned when God created the heavens and the
earth, he then continues by telling what condition the earth is in. Such is the
popular view. Yet those who study carefully the first chapter of sacred
Scripture deem this interpretation to be erroneous.
In the original Hebrew,
this initial verse of the first chapter of Genesis contains seven words. These
divinely revealed words do not say that in the beginning God 'formed' or 'made'
the world out of certain raw materials. No, the heavens and the earth were
created. This word 'created' is 'bara" in the original. This word 'bara'
is used three more times in Genesis I and 2. Gen 1: 21, Gen 1: 27, Gen 2 ; 3,
ref. Rom 4 : 17.
These sea monsters and
living things not only had physical bodies but also had an animated life within
them.They therefore required a directive creative act of God.
In the first two chapters
of Genesis there are three different words used for the act of creation : -
(1) bara- calling into
being without the aid of prr-existing material.
(2) asah - different from
bara, asah signifies making, fashioning or preparing out of existent material.
(3) Yatsar - which
means to shape or mould as a potter does with clay.
This word is used in Gen 2: 7. Interestingly, Isa 43: 7
illustrates the meaning and connection of all three.
The words "In the
beginning" reinforce the thought of God creating the heavens and the earth out
of nothing. There is no need to theorize; since God has spoken, let men simply
believe. Heb I 1: 3, Job 38.
The heaven is not the
firmament immediately surrounding the earth. Rather it points to the heaven
where the stars are. To understand the first chapter of Genesis it is important
that we distinguish the 'earth' mentioned in verse 1 from the 'earth' spoken in
verse 2. For the condition of the earth in verse 2 is not what God had created
originally, I Cor 14: 33. And hence in the beginning He created perfectly.
So the waste and void of the earth spoken in verse 2 was got the original
condition of the earth as God first created it Isa 45 :18.
How clear God's word is .
The word 'waste' here is 'tohu' in Hebrew which signifies 'desolation". It says
that the earth God created was not a waste. Why then does Gen 1: 2 states like
that? In the beginning, the earth which God created was not 'tohu': but
later on the earth did become waste and void. So that all which is mentioned
from verse 3 onward does not refer to the original creation but to the
restoration of the earth. God created the heaven and the earth in the beginning;
but He subsequently used the six days to remake the earth habitable. Genesis 1:1
was the original world; while Genesis 1: 2 describes the desolate condition
which was the earth's during the transitional period following its original
creation and before our present world.
Over a hundred years ago.
Dr. Chalmers pointed out that the words 'the earth was waste' might equally be
translated 'the earth became waste'. Dr. I.M.Haldeman, G.H.Pember and others
showed that the Hebrew word 'was' here has been translated 'became' in Gen 19 :
Gen 1:1, Exod 20 : 11
Comparing these two verses, we see that the world in Gen 1:1 was quite
different from the world that came after Gen 1: 3. Who can measure the distance
that exists between 'created' and 'made'? The one is a calling into being things
out of nothing, the other is a working on something already there. Man can make
but cannot create. God can create as well as make.