Genesis 1:1 - 31
ESV - 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
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The most natural explanation for a day being measured from evening to morning in Genesis 1 is that the beginning of time was marked by darkness. Genesis 1:2 notes, "The earth was without form and v...
Bara' -- Create Defined "Created" in Gen. 1:1 is from the Hebrew bara' (HSN-), to bring into being (see Heb. 11:3). It is used 7 times in the first two chapters of Genesis (Gen. 1:1,21,27; 2:3,4). In all other places "made" and "make" are used, proving the six days' work to be mainly reconstructive. In Gen. 1:1 the universe is brought into existence; in Gen. 1:21 sea creatures are created; and in Gen. 1:27 man is created. Thus, bara' (HSN-) is reserved for the introduction of the three great spheres of existence: the world of matter; the natural life of all living creatures; and spiritual life represented by man. God's original creations include the heavens, the earth, and all things therein as first brought into being -- made perfect the first time. Gen. 1:1 refers to the beginning of the creative ages (Job 38; Ps. 8:3-8; 19:1-6; Prov. 8:22-31; Jn. 1:3,10; Acts 1 4-26; Col. 1:15-18; Heb. 1:1-12; 11:3; Rev. 4:11). The six days of re-creation (Gen. 1:3 -- Gen. 2:25) end the creative ages, and are distinct from the original creations of the heavens and earth. Verse 3 a [God said] "God said," ten times: at the beginning of each day; third day twice; sixth day four times (Gen. 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24,26,28,29). "Let" is used 14 times in this chapter, 1,497 times elsewhere, and in no case is an original creative act implied. The sense is "made appear" or "made visible," expressing permission and purpose in connection with already existing things. The light, firmament, waters, earth, darkness and all other things mentioned here were already in existence but had been thrown into chaos, and the laws which previously governed them had been made void. The purpose of their existence had been annulled because of sin. Now, in the restoration to perfection, God merely commands and the sun gives light again, as it did all through Lucifer's kingdom (Jer. 4:23-26; 2Pet. 3:5-7). Thus, the light of days one, two, and three came from the sun as has been the case every day since. Compare the use of "let" in Gen. 13:8; 18:4; 24:14-18; Mt. 7:4; 13:30; 27:22; Jn. 14:1; and Php. 2:5 for the true sense.
Why is a day measured from evening to morning in Genesis 1? As has been implied, I believe the term, “evening and morning,” is a metaphor for something starting that may be indistinguishable at the start, and then becomes progressively more distinguishable until it is fully seen as if in the bright of day. This doesn’t mean that every Creative Day started in the dark, it means there was preparation work done to make the finished product possible. It seems that the end results wasn’t apparent at the start of the project. A similar pattern is described in Job 38:12-14 where it likens the morning to a time when the creatures of the night, including wicked criminals, disappear and gradually things appear to take shape and come into view as the morning brightens, more or less like impressionable clay takes shape under an artistically carved seal. Who is the audience who observes these creative wonders? Apparently they are “all the sons of God [who] shouted for joy” at what they beheld as things progressed from start to finish. (Job 38:7) An example of this process is found in Genesis 1:9-13. There we are told that God caused depressions to develop on the earth’s surface which in turn caused a differential change in the depth of the earth-wide ocean. This was done by the introduction of Plate Tectonics, Seafloor Spreading and Continental Subduction. As the waters moved into the lower regions, a fully formed continent became visible. It was apparently forming under water during the events described in Creative Days 1 and 2. God said, “let dry land appear.” This implies a process because a continent covered by water would take time to become “dry,” especially since there was no visible direct sunlight to do the job more quickly. (Genesis 1:9) This was the “evening” portion of the event with the on-looking angels wondering what would come next. What came next was the formation of a sufficient depth of topsoil which was probably produced by a combination of ocean ooze that accumulated before the continent became exposed and subsequently by an extended period of weathering and erosion. Now we are entering the “morning” portion of God’s creative day. God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation,... etc.” (Genesis 1:11) As the plants started to flourish, it could be seen that they would reproduce after themselves in a splendid variety of colors and functions. Finally, it was apparent what the “dry land” was to be used for and I am sure that the angels did rejoice along with God. The Third Creative Day was completed and declared to be “good” or the best that could done to prepare the land for what was to come next on the Forth Creative Day. In my opinion, these events model what the Bible means what it says, “evening and morning” to measure a complete Creative Day.
We think of a day as a 24-hour period which includes both daylight and darkness. But the word day in the first chapter of Genesis refers only to light, not to the darkness, which was named Night. So why doesn't the light of day for God begin at dawn and end at the darkness of night, as it does for most people? Man is made in the image of God, so it would seem that both God and man should count days in the same fashion. I believe, no matter what transpired beforehand, God's work in creating the earth and the heavens began during the evening, according to his chosen way of counting the light of day. His work continued on during the morning after night. No work was done during the night, just as no work was done by man at night in ancient times. We do not know why God's creative work began in the evening rather than at the first crack of dawn. But it does suggest that a "day" of God is intentionally different than the natural day of man, just as God is higher and completely beyond man in his activities, so are his accounting of days. He can't be tied or bound to human concerns and conventions.
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