God was there (verse 1).
The Spirit of God was there (verse 2) and the Word was there. We read that more clearly in the prologue to John’s Gospel (John 1: 1-3); but here the implication is wrapped up in the plural name for God (transliterated Elohim ). Here also, the spoken word brings life. Verses 3, 6, 9 11, 14, 20, 24 and 26 narrate, “and God said…” And whatever God said happened.
The narrative has many other wonders to note:
God created something, indeed many things, out of nothing.
God brought order out of chaos.
God brought light out of darkness.
God brought life out of barrenness.
God brought beauty out of nothingness.
God brought worth out of emptiness.
God gave life. God made life, brought forth living things.
And God brought them forth with inherent potential so that “the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit” were created with capacity to sustain what was already made.
And it took God six days.
How long is six days? Do we really know?
We read in Psalm 90: 4, “For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.”
What we do know is that it took time. Each of those six days were marked by a beginning (evening) and an ending (morning). See verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23 and 31. So days 1 through six belong to the temporal realm, not the eternal.
How many twenty-four-hour cycles were involved? The truth is that we don’t know.
We argue so much over things that only God knows when we should be sticking close to God and learning what we can from God’s still unfathomable mines of knowledge! Galileo was actually prosecuted because he supported what is called heliocentrism in astronomy. It holds that the earth (the planet we inhabit) and other planets in the Solar System, revolve around the sun.
Could that be true? I have to ask it this way. In Galileo’s time it was heresy. He was understood to be anti-God since this was in sharp contrast to Hebrew cosmology which guided human interpretation of Judeo-Christian scripture at that time.
This was similar to kings dismissing their wives for not bearing princes. Now we know that the gender determining genes relate to the presence of an X chromosome which the Dad must supply!
We ‘ve allowed ourselves to set up a battle between science and Bible or science and religion. Some scientists think that biblical faith is anathema, only for stupid minds. Some believers think that anything called science is part of a larger heretical plot to destroy faith.
Why does it have to be? Do we need to be stuck in an either-or rut that is clearly too small for our big God?
I remember how fascinated I was when in high school I studied DNA. It was so marvellous as I got a tiny glimpse into how God put so much knowledge and sustained programming into cells so tiny that I could not see. So far, science has challenged me to grow my faith, rather than disown it.
My roots in science (Yes, my first degree was in Natural Sciences) have not been pulled out to let my life of faith topple over. There is so much of God’s doing at every turn! I believe! (by which I mean Ï believe in God).
All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heaven reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
centre of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.
Henry van Dyke, 1852-1933