Just read it as it was written. It’s simple and it’s relevant. Some believers are passionate that there is no other way to read it. I respect them because this leads to the same important conclusions; God created; Man stuffed up (repeatedly); Jesus reconciled; Jesus will return; and God is working to a timetable.
In my early days I decided that God was either telling the literal truth or was using symbols to describe something beyond our understanding. But by letting the symbols speak to you as if they were literal you would see what God wants you to see. Later I also saw mysteries revealed. Mysteries can be an understanding of symbolic things and can also be an understanding of the plain text that was previously hidden.
You must judge if I have gone too far in the other models but don’t argue with those who just want live here. I have coined a phrase “Literal Model believers” to refer to those who hold true to this model. Please see that link to clarify that I mean “literal” in the sense of the “plain reading”, and “correct exegesis”. This is where I choose to live, with some customisations.
For those who dismiss the power of God to do things quickly, keep in mind the following sections...
In 1 Corinthians 15:52, Paul tells us of the raising of the dead happening virtually instantly. Other terminology about the new heavens and earth (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1) remind us that we are not expecting these things to happen over millions of years. So don’t discount God’s ability to do dramatic stuff in one day.
Ephesians 3:20 tells us the God can exceed anything I can imagine. 1 Corinthians 2:9 deals with the same idea. Well I can image God gazing down on the earth and as it rotates before him, and in just one day His creative power brings forth life just as it is written. We have all seen accelerated video footage of plants growing. Here the images are taken over days or weeks and plaid back rapidly. If we can imagine this then why not all of creation in 6 days.
In Joshua 10:13, Joshua commanded the sun to stop. Did the earth’s rotation slow down or did God, who is sovereign over even time, put his finger on the fast forward button and Joshua and all the Israelites go into accelerate time mode? I don’t know, but from Joshua’s perspective, the sun stopped and much was achieved in that time.
Where do you stop? The miracles done through Moses are astounding. Exodus 8:16 has dust turning into gnats. Many of these plagues came and/or went in a day. The sea was divided overnight (Exodus 14:21). So we see dramatic things happening in a one day time scale. But nothing is on a par with the days of creation.
So here are a few phrases to keep in mind:
You are not allowed to say there are any problems with this model. Other models can have problems but this one only has intriguing issues. You see, if I say it has a problem someone will get offended and think that I am implying that the Bible is in error. No, again, NO. It’s our understanding and assumptions that are wrong. A good exegesis helps a lot but sometimes I find a higher discernment helps.
Does that sound like I’m having a little dig at some believers? Sort of, but actually I really mean it. You see, this model is “all God”. Other models like the Universe Model and the World Model attempt to overlay some presumed logical sequence or meaning on the symbols. Now, I wrote the other models and I am not totally against that. But what goes wrong is that some people see the “presumed logical” sequence as a “natural” sequence. Once it becomes a natural sequence they then remove God. Though it may seem logical, it is not natural. God interacted at every step.
In this model, many of the intriguing issues are that it is a completely illogical sequence. Frankly it even seems illogical for God. But in this model God did create it exactly as written and so it is logical on our part to be intrigued by things that don’t seem to fit and to wonder why. If I don’t understand then I can accept that God’s ways are not like my ways (logic) and I won’t limit God by my understanding. But if prompted by this intrigue I do find out something about God then great.
Now, nowhere in the Bible have I found scriptures that refer to the specific order of things during creation. No one says that because the sun was created after plants then whatever. So if this is your model of preference and someone does show you in the Bible why God used this specific sequence, then you should say Halleluiah, Praise God, that the mystery has been revealed.
Well, I have found the reason why He did it exactly this way and that is the subject of “God’s Timetable” in Page-1-God which has least, if any, problems.
Now for the intriguing issues...
This section has been incorporated into the chapters on “God’s Way” in Page-1-God. The briefest possible summary here is that “the earth, formless and void”, in Genesis 1:2 is God’s chosen starting point, not the first step. This reveals that the whole of the universe came into existence on day 1. It forces a re-think of all models, but affirms this model. It explains these intriguing issues in the natural!
Most of the models struggle with having Light, Evening and Morning, before the sun is created on day 4. Even this model seems to have that as wrong at first light. It’s at moments like this that I like to remember that God often sets up “stumbling” blocks to our pride and understanding. Jesus himself was a stumbling block (Romans 9:33). So where does this light come from and if the only light we now have is from the sun, where has it gone? Here is one suggestion
This issue is not a problem for God. Once you have a planet rotating on its axis then all you need is a directional light source and you have morning and evening. We routinely turn on a light, so it is no big deal for God. The intriguing part is to wonder what happened to this light source!
The creation of light on day 1, and an atmosphere on day 2 seems small compared to the creation of the planet. The creation of the sun the stars on day 4 seems overwhelmingly large. Days 3, 5 and 6 see God dividing his attention between multiple things. I wondered why He spread creation of life over days 5 and 6 and not just one day. Now we could surmise some reasons. One reason that I want to suggest here is that God was pacing Himself, not because the task was too big, but to spread it out over 6 days and to lay down the working week. Most people will say amen to that, but this leads to the intriguing question of why did He choose this breakdown of daily tasks?
When all these points of intrigue, and others, are explained by “God’s Timetable”, then you will grasp how the material creation in this model was ordained to also point to the things that were yet to come. But will you? Will you continue to insist that Genesis 1 only talks of material things? I want to let you know that this gets just a little bit scary. We all took Genesis 1 to be a nuts and bolts description of how God put it together and suddenly it becomes a revelation of God’s higher purposes behind it – a purpose that speaks direct to the generation now reading this.