This article became quite a little adventure. It unfolded over several years as I waited on the Holy Spirit. I think there is something to be gained by reading it as it unfolded to me, but you have the benefit of jumping to the trailing section on the “Power and the Glory” to see the conclusion.
Be careful, the world looks for definitive answers. It wants to unambiguously document it and then we no longer need the Holy Spirit. God created things in the natural to reflect things in the spiritual. Otherwise we would never be able to grasp the things of God. (Romans 1:20) God does not lie, so we see both the natural and spiritual truths tied together.
The Literal, World and Universe Models all have their problems and virtues but only deal with the natural. The Summary and Millennia Models are the most beautiful to me. The World and Universe Models are just there to show you that the scientific understanding of the mechanics involved is now amazingly in line with what the Bible declared some 4 thousand years ago. It is scientific understanding that has been evolving for the last few thousand years not life on earth.
You also have to know that the verdict is not in. Science has been changing its opinions for centuries and once it latches on to a notion like light as a waveform rather than particles, it is hard to change, but change it did! I applaud the scientific challenges to the conventional presumption that everything took billions of years. The Creation Ministries International (CMI) web site, www.Creation.com, is always announcing this and it is serious science. I am happy to let scientists, both believers and non-believers, debate the time scale and even refine the fit of science to the truth in Genesis 1, but you have to read on and see that Genesis 1 is just a preface for Genesis 2 where the real game starts. You also need to remember that the public debate is very biased because the world will not welcome any science that affirms biblical teachings (John 15:19).
Jesus was often asked to perform some miracle in the natural to prove His spiritual authority, but He would not! God always requires faith and belief, not facts. It seems to me that God will not allow Science to definitively prove the Bible and so deny Faith. After all, if you want to please God you have to show faith!
If you want to come to know God and His perspective, then the Symbolic or Literal Model is for you. If you want confidence that the Bible is reflecting the truth in the natural as well as the spiritual, and you want to know that you can be a serious scientific person as well as a believer, then maybe the Universe Model will help you. Or, you can stay with the Literal Model and visit the CMI web site.
If you twist my arm and ask me which one I subscribe to, I would say that I started out in the Symbolic Model, but came to know the reality of Adam. Then the Universe Model came to me. Now I love them all, except the False one of course. All the debates about time scale just exhaust me. I am focused on God’s timetable that started with Adam and if you read on you will see why. The Models only apply to Genesis 1, but the real game starts in Genesis 2!
It was my plan to finish this article here, after a brief and simple comparison. But I know there will be some questions and debates amongst believers.
Genesis 1:1 God starts to describe the creation of the heavens and the earth and Genesis 2:1 He declares it was finished. Then in Genesis 2:4 He introduces another account of creation of the heavens and the earth. So in fact God is first to use multiple models! Of course both of God’s models are true while several of mine are mutually exclusive and you need to pick a physical model. The point is that God is often describing things beyond our imagination in the Bible and to do this He often portrays several different views. The four living creatures in Revelation 4:7 with their four different faces are sometimes linked with the four gospels of Jesus that revealed four attributes of Jesus as King (lion), Servant (ox), the Son of Man (human), and the Son of God (eagle). When Jesus talked about the Kingdom of Heaven he would liken it to many different things to reveal different attributes of heaven and God’s rule.
My models are all deal with Genesis 1. The Genesis 2 model is the subject of the rest of the Game Start articles. I have described four physical models, primarily dealing with the mechanical, details and two prophetic models, mysteries if you will. Initially it was my plan that you would pick the physical model of your preference, yet in hindsight I am amazed at how the physical construction of our echo system, world and universe can all be reflected in this one passage and so I am even more in awe of God. So it’s not so much about “pick one” as seeing God’s creation at work at multiple levels.
In other places I have addressed the issues of time scales and I have found reason to give God a little bit of flexibility. But I would just like to address the time sequence issue.
Late Update: My understanding evolves; the Word of God is eternal. This section is about allowing God to describe things to us that don’t match our understanding so that we don’t get stressed. This happens all the time, not just in the creation account. Years after writing this, I saw a much clearer understanding of the creation account which became Page-1-God. In that understanding the time sequence issues evaporate and Glory is given to God – no need to debate or justify anything. THAT IS A LESSON IN ITSELF. However I still feel there is merit in this section.
I’ll start with a brief testimony:
One Friday, circumstances were very grim and I cried out to God. I asked Him a question. On Sunday, a friend came up to me after the service and told me about a dream that he had because I was in the dream. I realised the dream contained the answer to my question. The truly amazing thing was that he had the dream on Tuesday – before I asked the question. I was excited to get the answer and my first reaction to the fact that He gave the answer before I asked the question was to be in awe at how God knows all things in advance – before they happen. Sometime later I looked at the same scenario and wondered if the Holy Spirit had prompted me to ask that question because God had already prepared the word of encouragement for me through my friend’s dream.
Finally I came to see the naivety of my understanding of God. Yes, somehow God knows the future but I was thinking that He only interacts with man in the fixed time sequence that we experience. Here are a couple of Scriptures:
So, image now all of time before you as if it was a tape measure stretched out on the ground with the start of the tape and the beginning of time at the left and at the right is the end of time. God views all of time at once, or if you like, He can switch His attention to any point in time. So when He declares things to us that are in our future, just as if they already exist, it is because he sees them in His present. God does not look from the present back in time so as to see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as dead, but looks into their time and sees them alive.
So God hears my prayer on Friday night and though he could have given and answer to my friend on Saturday night, He really wanted to impress me (translate as boost my faith), so He went back to the previous Tuesday to give the answer. As I write, this happened about 10 years ago. Perhaps God was seeing this point in time and preparing this revelation I am sharing with you. Indeed God works in mysterious and amazing ways – blessed be His name!
What does this have to do with Genesis chapter 1? God’s ways are not our ways – nor is His time sequence! There is no human observer to the events of Genesis 1, so it is God’s perspective. If one day he causes the land to rise out of the ocean and another day he creates the sun, the moon and the stars, then we should not insist that this is the time sequence that our consciousness and our science will observe. But why, oh man, do you insist that God must do things in your time sequence? (Romans 9:21) Cannot God step back, that is, move a few inches to the left, when he creates the sun after he has ordained that dry land appears?
OK, the time sequence of Genesis 1 is not necessarily our time sequence, so all concerns about plants that feed off light being created before the sun and other little dilemmas are now resolved. Yet God has been diligent to describe a sequence and His sequence does reveal what was on His heart. So let’s look at the sequence from this perspective…
This section has been expanded into Chapter 23, “The starting point”, 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 something about the heart of God. It causes a re-think of the mechanical details in Genesis 1. Viewed simply and broadly, they are putting in place all things needed for His son Adam. Even God’s rest in day 7 is preparation so that He is ready for the culmination of His work. The physical creation is revealed in days 1-7 but God’s purpose in creating it is then revealed in Adam and Eve. It is not the mechanical steps but God’s purpose and God’s heart that is the important issue. It is for this reason that Genesis 2:4 is able to again refer to the creation of heaven and earth as the introduction to the creation of Adam.
OK, days 1 to 7 are God days since it’s His perspective. How long the days are as a human observer measures it is irrelevant. But what do we learn from God’s perspective? It’s simple – it was just one weeks work for God.
If I spent a few years building some prototype then I might be a bit sad to see it trashed and burnt up after its test run. But if I only spent a few days building it, then I would not be concerned.
So when God tells us that this universe is just a prototype of the new heaven and earth that is to come and it will be discarded, then we can believe Him. This physical universe is no big deal – it’s us that He treasures.
By the way, it’s actually naive of us to assume that God took 6 days because He needed that much time. He could have done it in 6 seconds. But I think that He worked things out on that time scale to lay down the working week for man. Remember the week was designed for man, not man for the week. (Mark 2:27) And then on top of that God was also laying down the Millennia Model. I keep getting amazed at how God works all things to His good purposes.
God describes what He did through Moses as His “wonders” (Exodus 3:20). Well none of those wonders, which usually unfolded in a single day, came close to what creation days had to achieve, but if extended over a millennium, then yes. In the Universe Model I made it clear how God’s Acceleration Factor – His supernatural power simply accounts for time discrepancies.
God preserved a single breeding pair after the flood. I have seen in Australia how a single breeding pair of animals can populate a continent in just a hundred years. God seems to be keen to use a single man and a single pair of animals throughout scripture – so why not in the creation days? Well you need hundreds of years if He only makes a single pair of each animal – it’s really hard to create one of everything and have a stable eco system in just one day. But create one pair of everything at strategic times over a millennium and things get simpler. I find that God works over hundreds of years, raising up people groups and repopulating animal kinds though just one or two individuals in the rest of the Bible and now I see the same time scale at work in creation – if we allow the mystery to be revealed.
By the way, someone will say He started with just one pair after the flood, and that worked without needing a millennium and I agree. But the same person will probably also tell you that a lot of species like dinosaurs, died out after the flood, even though one pair of each of those would also have been preserved in the ark. See how hard it is in the natural. ...Anyhow, let’s not argue. You don’t have to believe this and you are not wrong if you don’t like it. It just makes sense to me and presents a consistent image of God throughout scripture.
I just can’t finish this article. Maybe this will be the last topic...
Models like the World and Universe Models are nothing new. I dreamed them up and others have seen the significant correlation between the 6 days of Genesis 1 and “popular” scientific understandings. I use the phrase “good not perfect” in a few places and that is what these models are. I openly acknowledge that they are not perfect yet the correlation is encouraging. So let’s look at the issues.
Are you going to trust “science” that has been changing and evolving for the last couple of thousand years and is only just catching up with the idea introduced in the Bible of the Universe created starting with light? Will scientists, at least those who refuse to accept God, ever include God in the equation? So if the fit is not good perhaps it’s science that will change and improve the fit. But I’m impressed, and as for people who want to suggest the Bible is not accurate, well, they are on the wrong bus.
But some Long Age or Day Age theories miss the point and accept evolution and don’t see Adam onwards as literal history. Now that is sad; even tragic. As long as they try and map Adam to day-6 Man they will always fail. Further they get caught in an ever increasing trap of trying to massage the Bible to fit unproven scientific opinions of the day. Just chill-out guys – if the fit is not perfect just keep in mind that Genesis 1 is just the briefest overview yet actually contains far more than we ever dreamt. Just show off the amazing ways it is accurate both historically and prophetically. As far as I’m concerned, only God could wrap all the information and mysteries into these first few chapters with amazing consistency especially when you also read the symbols. God is not at all interested in proving that He exits – that is self evident. It’s not a lie or wrong – it’s just simplified with hidden prophetic layers containing the mysteries of Gods purposes for those who seek Him.
When you are look at these models some people will tell you the models are not good enough. One group will be scientists. Well, as long as they reject God they’ll never see the forest of correlation because of a few trees that they are focussed on. Despite that it’s less than one page they’ll complain about all sorts of things that in reality they cannot prove because they cannot repeat the experiment.
Then there is another group who will say the models are not accurate because they are not the literal word of God. That’s OK – just bless them. Listen to them for they give glory God and may have other revelations that you don’t. For certainly the Literal model is an option.
In the World and Universe Models I generally allow some ambiguous period of time to be associated with each day. But I also suggest my preference for those days being exactly 1,000 years – not billions of years. I don’t deny God the option to work over huge time scales but if you look at “God’s Acceleration Factor” in the Universe Model and above all keep in mind that this was a SUPERNATURAL process, then it’s really easy to imagine it all coming together in just a few “God” days.
This has nothing do with comparison but it is about Gods ways. I read an article which mentioned how the second 3 days, 4-6, shadowed the first 3 days of Genesis 1. Basically the first 3 days created the elements or environments that were then populated or instantiated in the second three days...
I really could not get excited about this and felt in unworthy of mention until I saw how it showed God’s preference to get everything ready before He populates His creation. In fact all of days 1-7 are getting things ready for the creation of Adam.
In my summary article I suggested that the very rapid 6 day creation was “genie-like” and that we never saw that sort of behaviour from God anywhere else in the Bible. In the context of the summary article this very emotive “genie-like” image was valid. But however you look at it, Genesis 1 was a planned, carefully sequenced and executed series of events. They pleased God at each stage, and represented a significant effort on His part that He should rest after it. This is not simply a puff-of-smoke, and there it is job. God has exercised great care in preparing things for His children, even to “hand planting” the Garden of Eden for Adam. Whichever model you may choose or reject don’t overlook this underlying attribute of Genesis 1 because with the same great care He has already prepared a place for you in His heaven.
At last I figured out the way God wants these compared! Up until now there was in the back of my mind the concept of right and wrong or best. I knew from the start that definitive answers were not required. But after months of coming back here I figured it out. (Re-translate that as the Holy Spirit opened my eyes.) God measures the Power and the Glory.
For about 2 years I’ve been developing these articles. For years before that they were evident, except the Summary model and God’s Timetable, which the Holy Spirit just recently let me see. I finally saw the comparison I gave just above. I had this one idea in the back of my mind but did not know what to do with it. Please bear with me a little longer. I’ll introduce it with something I read but it’s not what you will first expect.
In the last section of the Science Topics article I discussed “Frames of Reference”. I put it there to spare you any more pseudo-science. It’s so easy today to accept that an observer outside this Galaxy could see things very differently and we accept that any observation in our frame of reference can be mathematically translated to that of the remote observer, even with seemingly weird time and space distortion effects.
Now God declares that “His way are not our ways” and that “His ways are higher”. But He loves us and has chosen Genesis 1 to reveal Himself as the creator. He has translated His creation account into a framework of understanding, a world view, that conveys what He wants us to know about Him in a way that all races of the earth over 4 thousand years can comprehend.
I suddenly found myself with contempt for the pride of man, puffed up with presumed knowledge that dares to say that God got it wrong and therefore God does not exist. I loved the maths and science subjects at school and university and excelled at them. I like to hear about the latest innovations and discoveries. One of my goals here was to share some really simple correlations between Science and the Word of God. I find it easy to see God in everything He created. I’m not anti-science. I acknowledge that most scientists in their own mind are seeking some sort of “truth”. I felt like I have bent over backwards trying to help people that only have a scientific upbringing to also see God. Just when it seemed I was finished I suddenly felt this contempt for the pride of man. I’m sure it was God’s prompting. He wants all men to be saved. He gave us intelligence to see the glory of His creation even in the intricate details and rules that He established, but He is bound to resist the proud. I guess intelligence can figure a lot of things out but wisdom sees its source.
God chose this way to reveal it. His higher purposes are contained there-in. His interest is not in the mechanical details but in our ability to grasp His purposes. The prophetic models reveal that He had a much higher agenda than mere mechanical details. So I don’t care if the mechanical details are at variance with anything we might assume. God has done exactly what He says He does...
You see – He’s absolutely sovereign and He does not have to tell it so as to please a 20th century theoretical physicist. He wrote it so a nomadic people 4,000 years ago could see His glory and I too see His glory in it. I’ve given you lots of ways to view the mechanical details, but now get your head out of the details and see God!