7.8 The Genesis Record
A number of questions present themselves when we carefully analyze
the Genesis record of creation. Is the record in Gen. 2 different to that
in Gen. 1? Why are there two different accounts? Was everything created
" in the beginning" or on the days of creation? How long were
the days? Were they six literal days? How are we to understand Gen. 2:4,5?
Were there previous creations?
There are a number of possible answers to these questions. What follows
is by no means a conclusive answer, but it is a suggested framework for
understanding the creation record. The basic thesis which I present here
has been developed from a section in Alan Hayward, Creation and Evolution
(London: Triangle, 1985).
But firstly, let's not get seriously worried about the way pseudo-science
mocks our simple faith in Genesis 1-3. The branch of science called 'apologetics'
(that which answers 'scientific' objections to faith) has chosen an altogether
bad title for itself. We as Bible believers have nothing, absolutely
nothing, to apologize for. It is evolutionists and the like who ought
to be the real apologetics- for science has no viable explanation for
life's essential origin. We need not be made to feel almost ashamed that
we believe the Biblical record.
7-8-1 Six Literal Days
There is no doubt in my mind that the six days of creation were six literal
days of 24 hours. There is no suggestion in the way the Lord Jesus and
Paul both quote from and allude to the Genesis record that it is to be
taken figuratively. Israel were to keep the seventh day as Sabbath and
creatively labour in the six other days (which was just as much a command
as the keeping of Sabbath), because " in six days the Lord
made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the
seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day" (Ex. 20:11).
Adam was the first man, and Eve was the mother of all living human beings.
>From one blood all were created (Acts 17:26). It is emphasized that
God created through His word of command; He said, and it was done (Ps.
33:6,9; 148:5; Is. 40:26; Jn. 1:3; Heb. 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5). God is outside
the constraints of time, and outside the possibility of His word not being
fulfilled. Therefore if He says something, it is as it is done, even if
in human time His command is not immediately fulfilled. Thus He calls
things which are not as though they are (Rom. 4:17). It is in this sense
that the Lord Jesus and those in Him are spoken of as if we existed at
the beginning; although we didn't physically. And so God spoke the words
He did on six literal, consecutive days, and the orders ('fiats' is the
word Bro. Hayward uses) were therefore, in this sense as good as done.
But the actual time taken to carry them out by the Angels may have been
very long. The Genesis record can then be understood as stating these
commands, and then recording their fulfilment- although the fulfilment
wasn't necessarily on that same day.
Indeed, it would seem from later Scripture that the orders and intentions
outlined by God on the six literal days are still being fulfilled.
Take the command for there to be light (Gen. 1:3.4). This is interpreted
in 2 Cor. 4:6 as meaning that God shines in men's hearts in order to give
them the knowledge of the light of Christ. The command was initially fulfilled
by the Angels enabling the sun to shine through the thick darkness that
shrouded the earth; but the deeper intention was to shine the spiritual
light into the heart of earth-dwellers. And this is still being fulfilled.
Likewise the resting of God on the seventh day was in fact a prophecy
concerning how He and all His people will enter into the " rest"
of the Kingdom. The Lord realized this when He said that even on
Sabbath, God was still working (Jn. 5:17). The creation work had not really
been completed in practice, although in prospect it had been. In this
very context Paul comments that although we must still enter into that
rest, " the works were finished from the foundation of the world"
Another example is the command uttered on the sixth day to make man in
God's image. The creation record in Genesis 2 is not about a different
creation; it is a more detailed account of how the Angels went about fulfilling
the command they were given on the sixth day. The process of bringing
all the animals to Adam, him naming them, becoming disappointed with them,
wishing for a true partner need not therefore be compressed into 24 hours.
It could have taken a period of time. Yet the command to make man, male
and female, was given on the sixth day. However, this may have taken far
longer than 24 hours to complete. Indeed, the real intention of God to
create man in His image was not finished even then; for Col. 1:15 interprets
the creation of a man in God's image as a reference to the resurrection
and glorification of the Lord Jesus. This was what the Angels
had worked for millennia for, in order to fulfil the original fiat concerning
the creation of man in God's image. Even now, we see not yet all things
subdued under Him (Heb. 2:8); the intention that the man should have dominion
over all creation as uttered and apparently fulfilled on the
sixth day has yet to materially come to pass. The Angels are still working-
with us. For 1 Cor. 15:49 teaches that we do not now fully have
God's image, but we will receive it at the resurrection. Therefore we
are driven to the conclusion that the outworking of the creation directives
regarding man in God's image was not only in the 24 hours after it was
given, but is still working itself out now. The new creation is therefore
a continuation of and an essential part of the natural creation; not just
a mirror of the natural in spiritual terms.
I can foresee that the objection to this thesis would be that God is
spoken of as resting on the seventh day as if all creation has been finished.
This is indeed what it sounds like- and from God's perspective, it was
true. He had spoken, and so it was done. He through His word
had created. The Angels were now working it all out in practice, having
'set it up' in the six literal days. This view of the record explains
two verses which would seem to defy any other sensible interpretation:
" God blessed the seventh day...because that in it he had rested
from all his work which God had created to make" (2:3 AVmg.). God
" had created to make" by the seventh day. He had created, because
His word was as good as executed; but the things were not all made. But
He had " created to make" . Likewise Gen. 2:5 speaks of the
day that the Lord " made the earth and the heavens, and every plant
of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before
it grew" . Now this is saving the best for last. Here surely is concrete
evidence for the thesis presented. The plants were made before they were
actually in the earth. This doesn't mean that they were made in Heaven
and then transplanted to earth. Surely it is to be read in the context
of all the other hints that God stated His commands regarding creation,
and this was as good as it all being made. But in material terms, it all
appeared some time later.
And let's take deeply to ourselves the power of God's word as revealed
here. He has spoken to us and of us, He has promised us His salvation
and the inheritance of the earth. It is as good as done. Our difficulty
in grasping this in the Genesis record of six literal days creation is
continued in our hesitancy to apprehend the utter certainty of our promised
salvation and the spiritual heights into which we have therefore already