Some idle scientific speculation is offered built around the image of a newly formed planet cooling down. This is then contrasted with Godís perspective.
Image the earth is newly formed and hot. Itís crust is still thin and unable to support irregularities. Large amounts of water exist as a thick fog or clouds blanketing the earth blocking out even the sunlight from reaching the surface much like Venus and Jupiter. The remaining liquid water completely covers the surface. This is where Genesis starts.
God begins to work on this planet. It cools and much of the fog condenses allowing sunlight to reach the earth. Day 1.
More cooling and the current atmosphere starts to take shape with a band of clear dry air above the surface but still with total cloud cover above that. Day 2.
Yet more cooling and the earthís crust thickens and can now support irregularities as continents push up and deep ocean valleys push downward. The warm shallow water around the coast of continents and in lakes on the dry land provide the habitat where plants can be anchored to the surface while receiving the sunlight and water that sustains them. Day 3.
You guessed it Ė the temperature drops a little more and water contracts to the poles. (By the way when I say this recall that current global warming fears are based on a predicted rise in the average temperature just one or two degrees. Temperature really makes a difference!) By now the atmosphere we currently observe is pretty much in place. Most of the air born water occurs in distinct clouds leaving the dry clear atmosphere. The sun moon and stars are clearly visible. Day 4.
God creates living creatures first in the sea, just as popular science asserts. He makes a few adjustments and fins become wings and scales feathers and we have flying creatures as well as swimming creatures. Donít we see so many birds even today that feed from the sea and just use the land for breeding? Donít we see many insects that spend most of their life cycle in water and emerge only to breed. The transition from water to air born is obvious. Day 5.
God turns His attention to creating life that walks and crawls on the solid ground. The last species that He creates is man. Day 6.
Wow, just a simple progression largely consistent with what science asserts!
We so often look at the mechanical details and lose sight of God. Perhaps this story will help...
Next to Godís throne is a cardboard box. It holds the universe. He made it a few weeks ago and has just been waiting for the glue to dry and the dust to settle. He picks it up and scans the billions of stars, naming each as He goes. From a short list of a few hundred He picks out our sun and this insignificant speck of dust He called the earth. ďYes, that will doĒ, He says. So God takes it out of the box and lifts it before His face as jeweller would lift a precious gem up to his eye. The full light of His face shines upon the earth still rotating before his gaze. (Day 1). God makes adjustments to the atmosphere (Day 2) and to the seas causing dry land to appear. He ordains all the forms of vegetation to come into being. (Day 3) He places the earth back in orbit so that the vegetation is now sustained by the light of the sun. (Day 4) With vegetation now established as the primary food source God creates living beings to populate the sea, air and land. (Days 5 and 6)
The universe is not the focus of Godís attention. Itís just there for a starry sky at night. His focus is the earth and its life forms.
In order to discredit Version 1, some will say that it is just trying to fit some sort of plausible scientific scenario to the sequence in Genesis 1. And you know what, they are correct! But take notice of how this criticism is cast. It acknowledges that it is a plausible scenario, which it is. My aim is not to prove this scenario. As far as I am concerned it is more reasonable than a whole range of evolution theories that are in common acceptance. This is just showing another Model that relates Biblical truth to current scientific understanding. Science has no problems with developing lots of Models for different realms of Physics, with no Grand Unified Theory, so why canít I have several Models.
Again, the creation of Light before the Sun is created requires some hand waving to fit that into these Models. We often think that it is crazy having Light before the Sun, but just for a moment consider a serious observer of natural things. He sees the sky get light in the morning before he sees the sunrise and then there is twilight after sunset. During the day he sees from the shadows that light, which travels in straight lines, as coming from the sun. But there is still light coming from the blue sky. At night there are other sources of light like the stars and the moon, but the general light from the sky is missing. This observer does not understand how sunlight is diffracted in the atmosphere. So in fact it is keen observation that says there is light in addition to the light of the sun and that light precedes the Sun.
Make of this what you will. I have read of some commentaries that suggest God described creation in this way to ensure that we would see Him as the source of Light and not the sun. For me, the most inspiring times of the day are just before sunrise and just after sunset when we see those glorious colours in the sky but are not yet forced to look aside by the direct light of the sun. Can anyone else see how the creation story is reflected everywhere and reveals Godís Glory and Majesty?
Obviously as I map the images presented in Genesis 1 to much more complex stages in the earthís development I also map the literal day described in Genesis to an extended period of time, epoch if you will. ďNo worriesĒ, you might say but Oh, how this grieves the passionate Literal Model believers. This interpretation of a day has been branded the ďDay-Age TheoryĒ. I had never heard of this theory before I had this model in my mind. Frankly, I have not extensively researched all the different creation theories that are out there. Later you will see that my focus is on the man and not the models. But one thing the Literal Model believers have perceived is that many interpretations that take hold of this day-age concept go on to pervert the very important plain truth (reality) from Adam onwards, trying to paint Adam as a type or figurative first man. I am at pains in all the Game Start articles to decouple the long periods of time in Models like this with the plain truth of Godís timetable from Adam onwards.
I just talked about some ambiguous long periods of time but there is really nothing wrong with thinking that the 7 days of creation were 7,000 years. Things were pretty turbulent during this time and thatís an understatement. As God is massaging the continents into position and settling the atmospherics down to the current steady state. There are lots of dramatic events like earthquakes, volcanic activity, tidal waves and temperature changes. All this builds up the current complex geology that we observe today.
Since the settlement of Australia some two hundred years ago we have seen all sorts of introduced animal populations and plants spread right across Australia. So over a thousand or so years just a single breeding pair created by God could spread over entire continents. Tidal waves and the like during the time that animal and plants are spreading out, sort of continuing after-shocks of the earlier stages, embed some of these animals in the fossil record and may have even wiped out others. Itís not at all hard to conceptualise. None of this denies the Flood in Noahís day. It just removes the need for everything we see in geology and fossils to be attributed to that one brief event.
But if you want just 7 literal days then all that goes out the window. There is no time for the dust to settle after just one volcanic eruption. So everything has to be created in some simpler more perfect state and all the complexities of geology and fossils get pushed into the one year of the flood.
Now I have seen serious evidence that the flood would have generated significant erosion and deposits of sedimentary layer and subsequent rapid fossilisation. So donít dismiss the literal model too quickly. The thing is, the Bible does not describe dramatic volcanic activity during the flood. It pretty much just says the waters rose slowly and then receded slowly. So to defend 7 literal days, believers are forced to assume that there must have been dramatic upheavals during the flood. The strength of this World Model is that all it assumes is a slightly longer time scale at work during Genesis 1 and everything is explained.
Actually the purpose of the Models is to let the scientists debate the mechanics and believers can focus on Godís purposes. But donít let that statement deter believing scientists who refute all manner of false hoods, like evolution, that are designed to deny God and so lead people along a path to eternal torment. Itís my hope that the Models make it easy for an unbeliever to transition from worldly thinking to God centred thinking. I donít think it matters which model you pick because you can then read the literal history of God and man from Adam to Jesus to now.