Inspirational Readings for Your Daily Walk with God:

Christian Mediation

 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

2. In the Beginning

THE theory of evolution is built on the age-old philosophy of uniformity of natural forces. The apostle Peter clearly expressed this philosophy when he described modern skeptics as proclaiming that “since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:4. 

This viewpoint, according to which nature is supposed to be endowed with power for carrying on its activities, was the very essence of all ancient pagan philosophical systems. Matter and energy were, to the ancient philosophers, the eternal realities of existence, existing independently of any creative power.

ORIGIN OF THE EVOLUTIONARY THEORY

The origin of such ideas is somewhat obscure, but appears to have been due to a failure to recognize the existence of a personal Supreme Being. The apostle Paul gives a suggestion on this point in the first chapter of Romans. He speaks of the ancients as holding “the truth in unrighteousness” (verse 18), implying that they had once had the truth, but had corrupted it. This corruption had come about as the result of vain imaginations (verse 21) which darkened their hearts.

 The French translation of this verse is interesting, for it speaks of the heart’s becoming destitute of intelligence. In verse 23 Paul plainly reveals the influence of such vain imaginations. The glory of God was changed “into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.” In other words, the attributes of the “uncorruptible God were applied to nature, and men “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Verses 23, 25, margin. Nature worship, or the worship of gods who were personifications of natural forces, became the central theme of pagan religion.

SCRIPTURAL VIEWS

Opposed to this pagan philosophy throughout the centuries has stood the Scriptural doctrine of a personal supreme God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He is introduced in the first verse of the Bible: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” 

His power is recognized in the Ten Commandments. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth.” The psalmist declares: “He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Throughout the prophetic books He is set forth as the One who had made all things. New Testament writings testify to the power by which He made and upholds all things. From Genesis to the Revelation, therefore, the story is a consistent one, with no suggestion of a self-existent or self operating nature.

Belief in supernaturalism was orthodox in the Hebrew religion until Greek philosophy brought in pagan concepts, after the Alexandrian conquests had spread Greek culture over the world. Again, after the time of Christ, we find a pure supernaturalism in the writings of the apostles, and not until Augustine and others of his time introduced Greek philosophy into Christianity did the church depart from faith in God as the Creator and upholder of the universe.

In this connection it will be well to consider the meaning of creation as taught by the Scriptures. The creationist viewpoint gives dignity and meaning to the astronomic, geographic, climatic, and biotic features of the earth. Instead of looking at all the marvels of nature as mere accidents, and life the greatest accident of all, the person who believes the Bible record sees purpose and plan in everything. God made the earth “to be inhabited,” and to that end He combined all the forces of earth, sea, and sky. The manner in which He organized this earth as the home for our first parents is so simply told in Genesis that it is generally regarded as a mere tale that has no scientific value. But let us examine it and see how its scientific aspects appear under close scrutiny.

DAYS OF CREATION

“In the beginning.” This simply means that at first, of originally, or when God first undertook the creative work. There is nothing in it to indicate any time period, either long or short.

“God created.” The pagan concept of self-existing matter is here dispelled by the idea that God created the heaven and the earth. The Hebrew word bara implies that a new thing has been produced, and not from anything of its kind previously existing.

“And the earth was without form.” It was not created as a fully completed world.

“And void.” The earth, when first created, was empty of life and those refinements of nature that make life possible.

“And darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The “deep” is from the Hebrew t’hom, which is translated into the Greek as abussos (English, abyss). Many meanings have been given to it, but its real meaning of great depth, bottomless space, or immense expanse seem especially significant.

“And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Since the words spirit, breath, and wind may all be translated from the same original word, several translations have been made. But the King James Version quoted above is the simplest and most consistent. The meaning seems to be that the Holy Spirit was the agent through whom the creation was accomplished. The text becomes clear and beautiful when we read it this way: And the Spirit of God acted upon the face of the abyss. In other words, using this as an intermediate connecting thought, we have the story thus: Darkness was upon the great abyss, and the Spirit of God acted upon this abyss, and God said: “Let there be light.”

Were the days of creation real days, or were they indefinite periods of time? One of the first arguments one meets on this point is the statement in 2 Peter 3:8: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” From this it is argued that when the Lord gave the record of the days of Genesis, He did not intend to imply that these were literal days, but rather that the record should be taken in a figurative sense.

Those who make this claim overlook the reading of the context. Peter is here discussing the longsuffering of God and trying to show that the reason ungodly men are not quickly destroyed is that God is “not willing that any should perish.” Verse 9. On the other hand, this mercy will eventually reach its end, and “the day of the Lord will come.” Verse 10. The whole question is that of God’s attitude toward the end of the world, not toward its beginning.

The best evidence on any questionable passage is the internal evidence,-to be found in the passage itself and its context. Upon examination of the first chapter of Genesis we find that at the close of the record of each day occur the words: “And the evening and the morning were the first day,” second day, etc. Here is brought to view a definite sequence of night and day, the same kind of day apparently as that in the second chapter, where the Sabbath is mentioned as a day of rest. 

Furthermore, there is absolutely no meaning to evening and morning as applied to geological periods. According to popular interpretation of the rocks, the succession of deposits with their plant and animal remains took place continually, and with no distinct universal breaks in deposit that could be correlated with the “days” of Genesis.

The principal reason for refusing to accept the Genesis record of creation literally is the acceptance by modern scientists of the theory of uniformitarianism, or the idea that all natural forces have acted uniformly throughout all past time. This modern philosophy was foreseen by Peter when he spoke of the skeptics of our day who declare: “All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:4. 

Obviously, if the uniformitarian doctrine were the true interpretation of the past, direct creation in six days would be only a tradition or folk tale. But it should be pointed out that the uniformitarian hypothesis propounded by Hutton and Lyell has never been proved. It is both unproved and unprovable.

Any conclusions based on it are as uncertain as the hypothesis on which they are built. It has been supposed by some that the light of the first day was unlike anything known at present.

And perhaps it might not be wrong to suppose that the act of creating material substance would be accompanied by brilliant light, for modern atomic physics has shown that units of light energy (photons) are related to the production of certain units of matter. We cannot make any dogmatic statements regarding this, but the idea may have something worthy of study.

Or, it may well be understood that when God spoke matter into existence, the darkness that filled the great “deep” or “abyss” of space would be illuminated as the matter of the earth caught up the rays of the sun and began to reflect them outward.

THE FIRST DAY

It is evident from the record that from the very beginning of the creation process the earth formed a body capable of casting a shadow, for of the first day, as of every other day, it is said: “The evening and the morning were the first day.”

It has sometimes been said that the light of the first three days was due to the special presence of God, inasmuch as the sun was not made until the fourth day. To postulate such a light would require that some source of illumination should exist only on one side of the earth. For it must be recognized that light is not an entity of itself; it cannot exist apart from some luminary. To say that the light was miraculous, or due to the presence of God, is to invoke the miraculous as a means of explaining that for which we can find no other answer. Certainly it was miraculous, for the whole creation process was a miracle. But to invoke a miraculous light for three days in order to fit our preconceived ideas that the sun was actually brought into existence on the fourth day, is a hazardous procedure.

The record of the fourth day says nothing as to the time when the sun was actually formed, and there is no Scriptural or scientific reason why it may not be understood as being in existence and casting its light over the earth from the very beginning of the first day, at least. Whether it was created at the time the earth was formed or long before, there is no way of knowing.

The Genesis record tells nothing of the work of the first day except the presence of light and its separation from the darkness. But it is evident, as we consider the structure of the earth, that either God spoke the matter of the earth into existence instantly, all in proper place, and then did nothing else for twenty-four hours, or else He occupied the time of the first day in organizing and arranging the materials.

There is no good reason for believing in the former suggestion, but it is consistent with the nature of the creation story to consider each day’s work as a series of events. Accordingly we might understand that the first day’s work was concerned with bringing the original chaotic mass, which was “without form,” into an organized globe.

THE SECOND DAY

Evidence for the progressive nature of creation is seen in the record of the second day. At this time the separation of the elements continued so as to produce a firmament, or atmosphere, above the earth. 

Nothing else is mentioned for this day, but it is likely that the processes of the first day were continued. This is suggested by the fact that the record of the third day describes further movements of the substance of the earth.

Considerable study has been given to the description of the waters which were above the firmament. Some have interpreted this as meaning atmospheric water vapor, others have supposed that it referred to a “sea” of vapor floating above the atmosphere. In support of the latter view is the fact that water vapor is lighter than air, water vapor having a molecular weight of 18, air of about 29. On the other side of the case is the question as to why such a vapor shell should not exist at present.

Advocates of the vapor shell theory point to the forty days of rain at the time of the Flood, and declare that there must have been a much more extensive source of supply than could have been possible from the vapor suspended in the air. They suppose that certain changes in the electrical condition of the atmosphere must have occurred in order to precipitate the vapor shell about the earth.

After a careful study of all aspects of this question, it must be admitted that since there are so many uncertainties involved, and so little known in detail, a positive conclusion is exceedingly difficult to draw. After all, the essential point is that during this day the earth was brought one more step along the way toward becoming a fit home for plants, animals, and human beings.

One might ponder at length at the wisdom of the Creator as revealed in the mechanics of the atmosphere. As the science of meteorology is studied, and it is seen how many wise and beneficent provisions are made for the needs of living creatures, it is easy to believe that the mysteries of the air are the work of an all wise Creator. Many scientists have recognized the marvelous manner in which the surroundings are fitted to the needs of plants and animals. God’s handiwork can readily be seen in the firmament.

THE THIRD DAY

The record of the third day is brief, like that of the second. Gigantic movements must have taken place in obedience to that simple command to let the water be gathered together in order that the dry land might appear. In consideration of this day, it is well for us to keep ever in mind that the earth is not merely a mass of rock thrown together in an unorganized mass. 

Even now, after the destructive work of the Flood on its surface, the earth still shows remarkable evidences of the symmetry of its original structure. In the first place, the earth is a huge magnet, with a core of iron and nickel. Because of its weight and of its rigidity, which is approximately equal to that of a steel ball, and because of the presence of iron and nickel in meteorites that fall upon the earth, we conclude that these materials comprise the greater bulk of the inside of the earth. Outside of this core of iron and nickel lie the crystalline rocks, with the heavier basaltic materials deep in the earth and the lighter granite rocks nearer the surface.

The outer portion of the earth, for a depth of one hundred miles or more, is known as the “crust,” so-called because of older theories that there was a molten interior surrounded by a cooler mass, or crust.

In spite of the rejection of the theory of a molten interior by modern geologists, the term crust is still used. Much of the crust has been so changed by the Flood that it is difficult to form a picture of the nature of the outer rocky framework before that event. Doubtless it was much different from anything we know today, for our sandstone, shale, limestone, and many igneous rocks appear to be superficial products of the violent forces of the Flood.

One point is of particular interest. Underlying the sedimentary rocks everywhere that mines, oil or water wells, or canyons have penetrated them, are found the twisted and folded layers of the “basement complex.” This is composed of generally fine-grained crystalline rocks such as mica-schist, gneiss, or similar rocks that appear to have been produced by distortion forces. In some cases it may be that these rocks were formed by disturbances in the earth shell at the time of the Flood. In many cases, however, they seem to form series of bent, folded, and twisted layers that have been truncated, or worn off, as if by some gigantic plane before the surface sediments were deposited upon them. The evidence suggests that these rocks may represent the remnants of the original skeleton of the earth as it was brought into position during the earth movements of the third day.

According to the record, as soon as the land and water areas were established, the dry land became clothed with vegetation. But let us pass that phase of creation, dealing with it in connection with other life forms, and give our attention more fully to the changes in the earth that were necessary in order to make it a satisfactory home for man and animals.

THE FOURTH DAY

On the fourth day the greater and lesser lights were set in the midst of the firmament, thus establishing the great time cycles. If the reader will notice carefully the account of the fourth day, he will see that nothing is said as to when the sun, moon, and stars were actually brought into existence. 

As for the stars, many of them are known to be millions of years old, for they are so distant as to require immense periods of time for their light to reach the earth. In passing, let us suggest that the idea that God created these distant suns each complete with beams of light already reaching outward throughout all space, if accepted, would destroy all belief in the regularity of God’s laws. 

All that we know of God’s manner of producing light teaches us that when He causes a body to become luminous, beams of light energy travel outward from the source, and are not set in action instantaneously along), the whole path of the light beams. God works in regular ways and according), to definite laws. We should not attempt to explain away His laws to fit our own opinions.

Further, it should be kept in mind that creation involved not only production of matter, but its organization and setting in relation to other material bodies. Accordingly the creative act of the fourth day appears to have been a process by which the great luminaries were established in the firmament of heaven to serve as markers for days and years and seasons.

The viewpoint of creation that assumes the sun to have been in existence on or before the fourth day and to have given light upon the earth from the very beginning of creation week makes the whole story consistent and simple. The only objection that can be brought against this interpretation is the idea that some have retained from their childhood days, of the fourth day as the time of formation of the sun, moon, and stars. 

On the other hand, since creation means organization as well as production of material, the work of the fourth day is reasonably understood as part of the organization of the earth in relation to the other members of the system, just as reasonably as to understand the work of the other days as organizational,- which they were largely, if not entirely. For there is no reason to believe that any new material substance was produced after the first day. Even the living things were made from the substance of the earth.

CONTINUE   RETURN