Thank you for joining me in this continuing study of the book of Genesis. I am your host, Randy Duncan, and we are in episode 3, and will begin this episode in Chapter 1, V3.
So, whether you downloaded the podcast on purpose, or just stumbled upon us, thank you for joining!
As a recap, last time we talked about the earth being without form and void, and what that was all about. I briefly mentioned and explained what the Gap Theory was. We also discussed what is meant by “darkness being over the face of the deep.
And finally, we discussed the spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters
If you recall, last time I mentioned that starting in this episode, some of us may need to keep in mind that the only barrier to truth is the assumption that you already have it.
And so, with that being said, we begin in V3.
V3 – And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light
Where do we start analyzing this seemingly simple verse?!
The creation is not a part of god, as is suggested in Pantheism or some New Age or Spiritual Religions. It is a product of His personal will…”God said”
As we go through each creation day when we get there, notice they all begin with “And God said”. The universe did not come into being without the personal will, the intelligence, and information from God!
There are two or three different ways to approach all of creation week. In this study, in an effort to make progress in going through the book, I don’t want to get bogged down in covering all of the subtleties involved in each of these perspectives
I will just make a quick note or two as we go along, just to introduce you to a couple of different perspectives. But I will focus on two primary perspectives as we go along creation week
For our purposes here and in this study, I want to simply introduce you to what I feel are the two primary ways people interpret creation week, and then leave it up to you to study, read, and decide for yourself which makes more sense
Remember Acts 17:11- Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so
We should do the same. You should do the same. Apply that now. Don’t believe anything just because I say it. Listen with eagerness, but then you go search the scriptures, you go do your research to prove whether those things are true.
That applies to more than just this Bible study. That is a lesson we can apply to our daily lives. Hear a person out, but then do your own research to determine if what they say is true. We could all do that with the news media and social media we are bombarded with all day every day as well
Aristotle -” It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”.
Or, to put it another way, as Ronald Regan said, trust but verify!
The two perspectives I will mention as we progress through creation week, are what are sometimes referred to as a Young Earth perspective, and an Old Earth perspective
Another model or way to interpret creation week is called the Framework Hypothesis perspective, but I am simply making a conscious decision to not spend time on that model, as I don’t think the vast majority of people hold to that view, but more importantly, I think the model is interesting, and could be true, at least in part. BUT, even if it is true, it still must incorporate one of the other two views I will focus on.
Very briefly, by way of introduction then, when I say a Young Earth perspective, I mean the thought that the Genesis creation account is interpreted as God creating the heavens and earth and and everything in it in a literal 6-day period, 6- 24 hour days, and, based on adding the geneologies described in the Bible, that the earth is @ 6,000-10,000 years old
In the Old Earth perspective, what I mean is the perspective that God created over a much longer period of time than six literal, 24-hour days. In fact, millions or billions of years. They interpret the “days” of creation as “eras, epochs, in time, long periods of time. I may discuss in more detail later. I will most likely end up doing a video comparing the two at some point. Just wanted to introduce those terms
Now, right off, I want to clarify that if a person holds to an Old Earth perspective, it does NOT mean that they subscribe to evolution!
It does NOT mean, necessarily, that they believe in what we would call “monkeys to man” evolution! Some of them do, they are called Theistic Evolutionists, or Evolutionary Creationists, but that is a different presentation or video for a different study.
The good news…? Regardless of which way you interpret these verses, it has no impact on your position in Jesus Christ! It is not critical to your salvation! It does not determine whether you get into Heaven! Only your position and relationship to Jesus Christ does that!
This question and topic, this Young Earth/Old Earth debate, is more of an in-house debate among Christians. And for these types of debates and conversations, we should learn to have grace and flexibility with one another
The way it is sometimes described is that “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity”
Now, with all of that said, back to V3 – And God said ‘Let there be light”, and there was light.
But shouldn’t there already be light? Didn’t God already create the heavens and the earth back in V1? Remember, the “heavens and the earth” refers to all of physical reality. So shouldn’t that include light?
My answer is yes, light was already created back in V1. Remember, V1 is a summary statement, and now we are going to go through some specifics of how God created
The word used here is the Hebrew word haya.It doesn’t mean that something new came into existence for the first time. Maybe a better way to say it in English is “to become” “to come to pass”. In other words, “let light be”
And right here is where your perspective on the age of the earth might impact how you interpret these next few verses
The Young Earth perspective is one that believes this is where light began to exist.
Because remember, if you believe God did not create over a long period of time, light needs to be something different than what is produced by stars, including our Sun, because the stars haven’t been created yet!
The stars and Sun aren’t created until day 4! So what is this light if it is not the light created by the Sun?
Some would argue that since the Sun hasn’t been created yet, and won’t be until Day 4, that this is teaching us that God is the ultimate source of light
Perhaps there is some truth in this b/c we know Revelation teaches that in Heaven there will be no need for the Sun, as God’s glory will provide light
In an Old Earth interpretation, meaning God created over a long period of time, when God says “Let there be light”, the interpretation is that from the perspective of an observer on the earth, light first became visible.
Let me break that down a little more, because it is crucial to understand.
Notice how in V2, God was hovering above the waters. So what is the frame of reference? The frame of reference is from the earth, above the waters. Where is God hovering? Above the waters, here on earth.
So, when the verse says, “Let there be light”, an Old Earth interpretation means, let there be light visible for the first time on earth. As an observer on earth, for the first time, you could see the light of the sun. You could see light, but not the source of the light. You still could not see the Sun itself.
Prior to this creative act of God, remember, that “darkness was over the face of the waters”
The earth was covered in a thick blanket of dust, debris, and a very thick atmosphere. It was opaque. So thick that the light from the Sun could not penetrate. It was dark. Over time, it went from opaque, to translucent, where you could begin to see light. Think of a very cloudy day. You can’t see the Sun, you can’t see the source of the light, but you can still see outside because light penetrates the cloud cover.
Job 38:9 – God, speaking to Job regarding the creation, says about the earth, “when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band…
So God here is telling Job that He covered the earth in darkness and covered it with clouds
Light broke through as to be visible from earth’s surface for the first time. Eventually, the translucent sky would give way to overcast skies, and then breaks in the clouds that blanketed the earth
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The stars, the Sun, Moon, planets, etc, have already been created.
We will speak more about the Sun, Moon, and stars when we get to day 4.
So, “Let there be light” has two primary interpretations. One, God created light as something different from the light we receive from the Sun. Or, the light from the Sun had already existed, but was just now becoming visible from the earth.
V4-6 – And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Interesting. If there was not a Sun yet, how could there be day and night? Where was the light coming from?
The whole reason we have day and night, and an evening and morning, is due to the light of the Sun and the rotation of the earth
This is further evidence that the Sun had already been created when “God created the heavens and the earth” prior to day 4, which we will talk more about when we get there.
So to argue that the Sun still had not been created, and wasn’t created until day 4, you have to come up with another source for the light, a source that would have the same day/night effect as the Sun does
‘The first day”. What do we mean by “day”? Day is the Hebrew word yom.
And like many Hebrew nouns, yom has several different meanings, depending upon the context in which it is used.
For example, yom has four literal definitions. It can literally mean any of the following:
A literal 24-hour period
All of the daylight hours
Part of the daylight hours
A long period of time
And we see that yom is used in all four ways in the first 2 chapters of Genesis!
The first time is right here in Gen 1:5 – God called the light “day”, and the darkness he called night”. That means yom here is referring to the daylight hours only, and so it cannot be a 24-hour period
The next time yom is used is also in Gen 1:5, referring to yom involving day and night, and so would refer to a 24-hour period
The next use of yom we should look at is found in the account of the 7th day, the Sabbath. There is no mention of evening and morning here. We know that God ceased from his creation on that day, but how long was that? How long has God ceased from his creative acts? Some would argue that he ceased his creative acts, and is still ceasing/still resting. IOW, we are still in God’s seventh day, his Sabbath rest.
Of course, that doesn’t mean God ceased his other works, such as salvation, upholding the universe, etc.
Finally, in Gen 2:4, it says “in the day that God created the heavens and the earth”. Obviously, yom here is referring to a longer time period that one 24-hour period. We even use the word “day” like this in our modern language
This would be similar to saying back in his day, Peyton Manning was a good QB. We don’t mean he was a good QB for just one day!
The bottom line is this. The Hebrew word used for day, yom, is used in various ways, and has four literal definitions. We have to take into consideration the grammar used, the sentence structure, and the context in which it is used to determine what the author intends to communicate
In the next episode we will discuss the creation of the firmament or expanse and what that is all about, as well as the seas, dry land, maybe even some plants. We might even make it all the way through Day 3!
Thank you for joining me in this study through the book of Genesis. And remember also for next session, that the only barrier to truth is the assumption that you already have it! God bless each of you, take care of yourselves, and I will see you in the next session.