When was the earth created according to the Bible?
Turn to Genesis 1:1,2. Last time we talked about Christ’s being the Person of the Godhead who called everything into being. We talked about how the Hebrew word “Barah” indicates not only creation, but perfect, beautiful creation. God can’t create something that isn’t perfect and good. Throughout Chapter 1 of Genesis, we see that as God made things, He inspected them and recorded that “it was good.” Yet, when we come to verse 2 of this Chapter we read: “And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”
That hardly sounds perfect and beautiful. Rather it implies a “mess,” chaos. If God, in verse 1, created the earth beautiful and perfect, (we have no indication of the time element between these two verses) and now, in verse 2 it’s less than that, it’s obvious that something drastic has happened. That beautiful creation of verse 1 has been changed into something ….. “without form, void, covered with water, and enveloped in darkness.”
This is the first flood. A flood condition existed over the entire face of the planet. This may be an explanation of why God told Noah in Genesis 9:13,15: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth…And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh .”
Why would God make so big an issue of not ever destroying the world again in this manner? Because He made this covenant with Noah, following the second worldwide flood which destroyed all life. “And darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Here the earth was covered with water and that which God had originally created perfect and beautiful was undone. All we can do to understand this situation is to search the Scriptures for an explanation. Turn in your Bible to Ezekiel 28:13-15. Remember when you study Scriptures, ask yourself questions about what you’re reading. What is being said; about whom is it being said; who’s doing the talking; etc. Now verses 13-15:
“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”
“Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”
“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
Now, let’s look at these verses phrase by phrase:
“You were in Eden, the garden of God;”
Who do we know, according to Scripture, was in the Garden of Eden?
God * Adam * Eve * Satan
“…every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald and the carbuncle, and gold.”
These beautiful gemstones mentioned here are mentioned again in the book of Revelation in the description of the New Jerusalem. (Again we see that what began in Genesis, we will see ending in Revelation).
“…the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”
Now, because we know that God is not a created being, this indicates that the passage must refer to Adam or Eve or Satan.
“…Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth;”
In Scripture, people are never referred to as cherubs or angelic beings; so here we see that God is addressing an angelic being, and through the prophet Ezekiel, is revealing that angelic being to us. So we can deduce that this passage is referring to Satan. The term “covers” in Hebrew refers to “rule.” So we see that this angelic being is a ruling being.
“…and I have set thee so:”
God says, “I placed you there.” This angelic being was ruling because he was placed there by a sovereign act of God.
“Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God;”
Again, in Scripture, unless a specific mountain or land area is mentioned, mountain is normally used to indicate a “kingdom” rather than just a “hill” somewhere. So God says to this angelic being, Satan, “you ruled over a kingdom I gave you.”
“Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”
These stones of fire refer to the gemstones named in the verses above. So we see that this angelic creature was ruling, by God’s sovereign command, over a kingdom that was literally impregnated with these precious jewels, these glorious gemstones along with all the other beauties of nature. We see all these gemstones referred to again in Revelation 21 as a part of the New Jerusalem coming down – restoring the world to its original beauty of Genesis 1:1:
“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
In verse 15, God is continuing to speak to this angelic being, describing his perfection “until” – a time word. At some specific point in time, this angelic being lost, dropped, destroyed his perfection and iniquity or unrighteousness was found in him. What was his problem? Turn to
Isaiah 14:12-14. Here the prophet says,
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, Which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.‘”
In verse 12 we discover the name of this angelic being – “Lucifer,” along with his actions “which didst weaken the nations.” These nations refer to angelic kingdoms over which he had dominion, because mankind was not yet made for him to have rule over.
Now, look what he says. ….. (Notice all the “I will’s“). “…I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;…“
This angelic being, Lucifer, was not satisfied with all God had given him. Instead, he wanted even more – even to usurp the very power and position of God. Satan is still trying that. Remember his temptation of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 4:8,9?
“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, ‘All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.‘”
He still attempts to bribe us into worshipping him today in much the same way.
“I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north;”
The “sides of the north” are where some theologians get the idea that heaven is located somewhere behind the northern sky. It may or may not be. We can only speculate on this and we have more important things to contemplate.
“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.”
Here God is quoting the heart thoughts of this creature. Lucifer is saying (and still is saying) in his heart, “I will be like the Most High.” This angelic being has everything he could possibly expect ever to have: he’s beautiful, he’s surrounded by beauty over which he has total dominion. But the one thing he lacks that is not within his grasp is to be God or higher than God.
Soon in our studies we’ll be coming to Genesis 3:1-6. We’ll see Eve in the garden. She has everything she could possibly want: a perfect home, a perfect husband, a perfect environment. And what does Satan tempt her with? “If you’ll eat the forbidden fruit, you’ll be `like God.'” And she falls for it!
This is what I refer to throughout the Scripture as “The Lie” – that human beings can be “like God.” When you hear that touted, don’t believe it! Certainly we are sons, children of God; and Paul tells us in Phil. 3:20-21 that our bodies shall be changed to be like Jesus’ glorified body, but we’re never going to become God. That would be impossible. And that’s the LIE! As this world is so fast winding down, with all the false teachings and movements like the New Age or “Shirley McLainism,” what is the pitch we hear being offered by the cults? “You’re going to become God.” When the Antichrist shows up, he’s going to promise everything including this LIE in order to get control of the world.
Always be aware as you study the unfolding of the human experience that Satan’s big lie, the one most people will fall for, and the basis for all the cults is this very one, “You will become God,” or “You will become like God.” Lucifer found out that he could not become God, and God brought him down. Consequently, as a result of that judgment the earth became changed from what it was in Genesis 1:1 to what it is recorded as being in Genesis 1:2.
Look near the back of your Bible to the little book of Jude, verse 6. This describes the angels being chained, awaiting judgment. This ties in with a passage in Revelation 12:3-4 which reads:
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth …”
We see that this angelic being, Lucifer, who ruled over an angelic kingdom, in his rebellion against God, actually convinced one-third of the angelic host of heaven to follow him in his rebellion, and they are referred to in Jude as “fallen angels,” locked up and awaiting judgment. These are not the precursors of demons. The Bible doesn’t tell us just where demons do come from, only that they exist as a part of Satan’s forces of evil.
Looking back at Genesis 1:2, now we see that the earth is “without form.” In judgment on Lucifer, God destroyed the earth and knocked him out of his place of authority and rule over that beautiful creation to become the great “adversary” or enemy of God. And God, in his sovereignty has permitted that.
Satan, Paul tells us, can transform himself into an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14). Don’t believe the cartoon portrayals of Satan as dressed in red leotards, with horns and a tail and carrying a pitchfork; or as Milton described him as “the one who stokes the fires of hell.” Satan is a powerful angelic being with great cunning and intellect. He is limited only by the sovereign power of God. Satan will do anything to promote his own ends. He’ll even promote good and beautiful things if, by doing so, he can keep a human being from seeing the truth of God’s Word. Don’t sell him short! He’s got tremendous power! In Genesis 1:2, we find that God’s beautiful creation of verse 1 has been destroyed because of Satan’s (Lucifer’s) rebellion. It was destroyed by water.
In verses 3-19 in Chapter 1, the work described being done by God does not actually refer to works of creation, but rather to works of restoration. In verse 2 the earth and all that was on it did not cease to exist – it just became dysfunctional. Verses 3-19 record the steps God took to restore his creation of verse 1 to a functional condition – to restore it to what it had been before the rebellion. There’s not a word in the Hebrew text that refers to creation in these verses, and we don’t see that “creativity” of God until we get to verse 20 where animal life is introduced, and later of course, when Adam is created.
In verse 3, the Almighty, Triune God, through the Person of Jesus Christ, as we see in the New Testament, says, “Let there be light.” It doesn’t say He created it – just that He made it functional. He removed whatever had hidden the light from the scene.
Verses 4 & 5: “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.“
Some like to say that this could be a day of any amount of time. However, the description of the separation of light from darkness really indicates a 24-hour day, in my opinion. It is the beginning of time as we know it. We are creatures of time. We are governed by it, slaves to it. It’s an integral part of our human experience.
Science says all creation is composed of three things:
Space * Matter * Time
If you remove any one of these factors, you have nothing. All creation as we know it is matter traveling through a given amount of space in a given period of time. Everything concerning time is based on our 24-hour day. Everything in space is meticulously timed. The scientists can tell us when to expect a comet, even though it’s been out of sight for years, based on a time table governed by the laws of nature God established at creation. Ships navigate by the stars because their movement is regular, dependable. All of human experience is tied to God’s creation of time in verses 3 through 5. This is the only way we can comprehend that in six 24-hour days God got everything ready for the human experience, and then on the 7th day He rested.
For the next session, read verses 6 through 19 of Genesis chapter 1. You’ll see no reference to “creation,” but rather a replenishment or restoration of what had been before. Remember, it is by faith we have understanding of God’s Word. We believe it because God said it. We know God’s Word is true because hundreds of sometimes even thousands of years before it was accomplished, God prophesied and recorded what would happen later. The virtue of God’s Word is established by the prophesies already fulfilled. ….. They are the proof of the Scriptures.
FIVE DAYS OF RE-CREATION
We’re going to pick up right where we left off in the last chapter. I hope you had opportunity to read Genesis 1:6-23 as I suggested in preparation for today’s lesson. Please take note that the language used in these verses is not that of creation, but rather that of restoration. God has taken that which the previous verses (Genesis 1:2-5) indicate was under water and darkness as a result of a previous judgment, and restored it to a functional condition. When we get down to verse 20, we’ll see that God again, through an act of creation, brings forth the animal kingdom, and from verse 26 through the end of the chapter, the human race.
Verse 6: “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
All you have to do to understand this verse is to analyze the wording carefully. The word “Firmament” is what we would normally refer to as our atmosphere – our sky. It may involve or include a certain portion of what we would call space, the planets closest to earth, but generally speaking, we will consider the firmament as earth’s atmosphere.
Looking closely at this, the Word says here that God is going to divide the water that is presently covering the planet (as a result of an earlier judgment). The earth is in a state of total flood – what we previously called the “First Flood.” God, the Scripture says, is going to divide these flood waters and move part of them out above our atmosphere. We can picture that as a vapor belt out in space surrounding the earth. This same vapor belt will later be brought back on earth at the time of “Noah’s Flood,” but for now, let’s just picture it out in space with the remainder of the water left covering the planet’s surface.
Verse 7: “And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.”
God accomplished what He had spoken in verse 6.
Verse 8: “And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
God names the firmament (atmosphere) “heaven.” Previously we talked about the three heavens mentioned in Scripture:
1. The 1st Heaven which is the earth’s atmosphere; the area in which the birds fly. The Scriptures even use that terminology; “The fowls of the Heavens;” (Jer. 9:10).
2. The 2nd Heaven which we now understand as “space;” … that area where the stars and planets are.
3. The 3rd Heaven, mentioned in II Cor. 12:2 when Paul speaks of his own experience of being caught up into the very presence of God. The 3rd heaven then is the abode of God – what we normally think of as heaven.
What we have in verse 8 then is that the earth’s floodwaters have been divided with half being above the atmosphere in the “vapor belt” in the first and maybe part of the second heaven, and the remaining half covering the earth.
I’d like to give a little consideration to this vapor belt because it gives rise theoretically to the idea, much to the consternation of science today, of the earth’s having had a “greenhouse effect” from the beginning. As the illustration indicates, this vapor belt was such that it shielded the earth from the damaging and harmful rays of the sun. But even more, with this moisture in place, the rays of the sun were diffused or bent through the belt so that the sunbeams could not directly strike the planet’s surface. Consequently the entire earth – from pole to pole – was tropical.
Archaeological evidence shows that at one time this had to be the case. Scientists have found tropical plants and animals buried deep in the frozen snows of the polar regions, particularly in northern Siberia. We know by this evidence that this old planet at one time had a constant tropical temperature and the best way to explain this is that this vapor belt provided a greenhouse effect and the world as we understand it was of one temperature.
This also explains as the Scriptures do, that it never rained, but rather was watered from beneath. This vapor belt provided no opportunity for rain or weather phenomena of any kind, because as the sun’s light rays were diffused equally around the globe rather than striking the planet’s surface directly as they now do, there was no shift in temperature, no increase or decrease of atmospheric pressures. Everything remained pretty much constant.
This condition gave rise on earth to that beautiful, constant, calm weather of the pre-Noah’s Flood experience of man. It was perfect beyond our comprehension. Verses 9 and 10:
“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas; and God saw that it was good.”
In these verses, God separates the waters left on earth making dry land appear; and gives names to the land, “Earth,” and the waters, “Seas.” Verse 10 goes on to say that “God saw that it was good.” It was perfect! When God calls something “Good,” there’s absolutely nothing amiss! Now, with the dry land having been established, and the sunlight’s being able to come through, albeit diffused, the natural order once again comes on the scene as the earth “brings forth.”
Verses 11 and 12: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth; and it was so.”
“And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind; and God saw that it was good.”
There’s no word here of creation. All these things have been here before, and now with the earth’s having been brought back to a place of production, these things just naturally come on the scene. The seeds were already there – they just needed the right conditions to “bring forth.” We’ve had things happen in recent times that makes this so believable. Even though it is necessary to take the Word by faith, and some things talked about in Scriptures are beyond our comprehension, yet it’s appropriate for us to see the logical aspect of God’s dealing with mankind and His creation.
Just a few years ago, maybe 10, Mount St. Helens just blew it’s top and totally devastated the area around it. Now, just a few years later (only moments or hours in God’s scheme) people are already starting to write about how beautiful the new growth and new vegetation is and how the wildlife is coming back even better than it was before.
So, it’s logical that when God restored the productivity to the earth, it just naturally came back into existence. There was no need for creation – it was already there – it just needed the right conditions to produce.
Verse 12 is actually a repetition of verse 11, but notice, if you will, the use of the phrase “after his kind,” again and again. This flies in the face of evolution, doesn’t it? That’s why there is that constant and on-going argument between adherents to the Genesis account of creation and evolutionists.
God emphasizes over and over in these verses that everything was created in its “own kind.” We know through our studies in biology and botany and other earth sciences that you cannot take something of one species and cross it with something of another species – something totally different. There are times when scientists can seemingly take cells from one species and they’ll survive for awhile – but only for a short while, because God has said, “everything after its own kind,” and there’s just no room for such a thing as the evolutionary process which says that everything came from one cell.
Remember a few years ago when there was quite a furor that for burn patients, the best therapy they had was to cover the burns with pig’s skin? They could actually take thin layers of pig’s skin and place it over the human’s burned areas, and because the pig’s skin would “breathe” or let air pass freely, it worked well in enhancing the healing process in the human physiology. But it was only a temporary fix. After a few days, those cells in the pig’s skin would die and just slough off.
Now, an evolutionist says, “See, that shows that everything came from the same place.” But the creationists say, “It just shows that there was one Mastermind in creation.” Everything that God has created has come from that one “Mastermind,” so even though there may be similarities and there are things that seem analogous, that does not tell us that they came by way of evolution, but rather that the same Creator is the instigator of all of it.
Verse 13: “And the evening and the morning were the third day.”
As we discussed in a previous lesson, I believe that this refers to a regular 24-hour day as we know it today. We’re not talking about things suddenly just being created out of nothing as they were in Verse 1, but they’re coming back on the scene quite naturally.
Verses 14 and 15: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years; And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.”
Again, in verse 14 it doesn’t indicate that God created the lights. They’ve already been there – we don’t know for how long, and He merely makes them functional again. Whatever He had placed over the earth in that 1st catastrophe between verses 1 and 2 that made darkness and water cover the earth and blotted out the sun, moon, and stars, God here just simply removes and they come into view and are able to do what they were originally created to do.
Verse 15 is a simple statement of fact and we believe it. When God says, “It was so,” we can trust He knew what He was talking about!
Verses 16, 17 and 18: “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.”
If you’ll look in a good Hebrew-English dictionary, the word translated “made” in verse 16 doesn’t even come close in meaning to the word “create” that we discussed in Lesson 2. Again, this word is more in line with the idea that He simply made them operational. It doesn’t say that He brought them out of nothing like the Hebrew word “Barah” does in verse 1. Verse 17 says God placed them in the “firmament of heaven,” and this refers to the 2nd heaven that we discussed above – the depths of space in which revolve the galaxies.
“And God saw that it was good.” Remember that God was getting everything ready for the appearance of the human race. The earth, as we saw in Lesson 1 was created to be inhabited (Is. 45:18), and verses 2 through 19 describe the process of getting it ready for mankind.