Were the days in Genesis 24 hours or longer periods of time?

Were the days in Genesis 24 hours or longer periods of time?

We presume you are asking about the length of the days of the creation story in Genesis. Most likely, ‘day’ refers to a long period of time. Keep in mind that scholars identify the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis as poetry, not necessarily a scientific textbook. The Genesis account of creation states that the Sun and Moon were not created until the fourth day (Genesis 1:14) so the traditional idea of a 24-hour night and day is not likely.

There are sincere Bible-believing Christians today, young-earth creationists, who take the Genesis account of creation as literal 24 hour days. There is another category of believers, old earth creationists, who take the Genesis account as ‘long periods of time’ based on the Hebrew language in which the word for day can have multiple meanings. ‘YOM’ the word translated as ‘DAY’ has four definitions one of which is, a very long period of time.

Science discoveries in the past century, from which the ‘Big Bang’ theory was postulated, strongly suggest that creation took place over a long period of time, perhaps as much as 14.8 billion years. Geological evidence for the earth posits an age of 4.8 billion years. God’s creation is truly more amazing than we can ever fathom. Recent scientific discoveries suggest this there are over 100 variables that must be perfectly aligned for there to be any life forms at all on planet Earth.

As mentioned at the outset, chapter 1 of Genesis is truth told in poetry. In Bible poems mountains can ‘sing’ and trees can ‘clap their hands’ to the glory of the Lord. (Isaiah 55:12) In ancient Hebrew there is often a rhyme in rhythm to this chapter in Genesis. We are also reminded in the New Testament in 2 Peter 3:8, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” This is why the mystery of creation intrigues us so much as we are limited by time and space but God is not.

Finally, this does not mean that God could not create the universe in seven 24 hour days if He chose. God could have done it in 24 seconds. The evidence of science today suggests a longer period of time for creation. The truth to remember is that God is almighty and the creator of the heavens and the earth out of nothing. He literally spoke it into being. Where there is a beginning there must be a beginner. That person is God!

We like to know with certainty about creation, but far more important is knowing the end of the story. How will you spend eternity? Does the creator of all have plans for you? If you are not sure, we encourage you to read the answer to the Question: How does one become a Christian?

What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). God saw at all he had made and it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Everything was perfect without a blemish anywhere! Think of a park with beautiful trees, manicured lawns and amazing flowers in full bloom with not a single weed to be found. It was truly a Paradise. Then unfortunately sin came into the world through Adam’s disobedience and God’s perfect creation became corrupted, so much so that God destroyed the earth with the flood, and only Noah, his family and the animals were saved to make a fresh start.

But, sin was still in the world. God gave his people laws and commandments but no one could, or was willing to, keep all the commandments or be obedient to all laws. People continued to sin and disobey God. But God had a plan. He sent his only son, Jesus, to be a sacrifice for all the sins of the world; a Savior to fulfill God’s promise of salvation and eternal life for all who would trust in him. In the final book of the Bible, the apostle John describes a vision in which he hears Jesus say, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5)

In a letter written by one of Jesus’ closest disciples we read: “but in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and the new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13) Six hundred years earlier, the prophet, Isaiah recorded these words that God had spoken to him: “for behold, I create a new heaven and new earth and the former shall not be remembered, or come to mind.”

A new heaven and a new earth are more than just a promise. The Apostle John actually saw what God has prepared for all those who love him and have placed their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. God gave John a glimpse into the future as recorded in Revelation 21:1 “ then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away.” The new earth will be a Paradise beyond human comprehension. In 1Corinthians 2:9 we read, “what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what no mind has conceived are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

So, have you trusted your life to Jesus so that you can experience this promised eternal new earth paradise? If not, why not? Remember, this new creation is only the eternal dwelling place for those who are God’s children in Christ.

How can anyone be sure that the God of the Bible really exists?

How can anyone be sure that the God of the Bible really exists?

If the universe with its trillions of galaxies and an unknowable number of stars and the irrefutable laws of physics and mathematics which control and govern it are not enough evidence to convince you that God exists, then look in the mirror and consider the complexity and supernatural intelligent design of your physical being.

Your eyes alone are two miracles that defy understanding in human terms. So too is your DNA, your brain, and your ability to reason. Where did that come from? And where do you think you get your sense of right and wrong, good and evil, and your longing to make sense of it all? A creator God, the God who reveals himself in the Bible, is the designer, the author of all that is. Everything we see around us are the evidence of the Creator, God. That’s how you can be sure God exists. The evidence is overwhelming. God has revealed himself in the creation, nature, the Scriptures, in Jesus Christ, and, most specifically, in human life. When we understand that we, each one of us, is made in the image of God, we can begin to know this God of the Bible.

Beyond observation, the best way is to get to know the God of the Bible is to ask God to reveal himself in your life in some tangible way. Then wait and see how he reveals himself to you. Talking to God and listening to him is what is known as prayer. This may seem too simple, but millions down through the ages have discovered that prayer is the best way to encounter God.

In the New Testament letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul, an apostle of Jesus wrote this about God:

”for his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, and the things that have been made. So, they (people asking your question) are without excuse.”

Romans 1:20

Clearly, God is ever-present, and we can experience and know him if we take time to seek him. The choice to believe that God exists is up to you. More importantly, believing that Jesus, God’s son, paid the penalty for your sin is an important first step in obtaining the promises that this God of the Bible has made to all of us–peace in this life and eternity with Him. The decision is one of the mind and the heart, as it is not for lack of evidence. Choose wisely as your eternal destiny depends on the choice you make. If you would like to learn more about how to enter into a life-changing relationship with God, please read our post, How does one become a Christian?

What is the Christian worldview regarding the origins of man?

What is the Christian worldview regarding the origins of man?

A Christian worldview is unique with a character and coherence that stands up to reason and is underpinned by both history and experience. It clearly differs from other worldviews. That can be easily seen both in the creation of all things and most specifically in the origin of man.

The foundational tenet for the Christian worldview of man’s origin is found in the account of creation in the ancient writings of Moses:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

     So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:26-28

When God created humans. He made them unique. Unlike the rest of his creation on earth, God made men and woman to have characteristics of God including the ability to think, reason, communicate, empathize, and to love. This view is in stark contrast to the humanistic view of a creature evolving over eons of time—a view that is not supported by evidence or by reason.

In the Bible we learn that God has revealed himself in three characters, God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. These three live in perfect communion and have infinite love for one another. That love is what God desired when he made man. He fully loved man and gave man the ability and choice to love him.

Unfortunately, man used his choice to disobey God and turn his love from God to love of himself. In theological terms, this is known as the fall or original sin. This love of self and belief that each of us is the center of the world is the root of everything that is wrong on earth.

Pride or vanity is the central sin from which all others derive. It is the belief in one’s own abilities to the exclusion of the one that has given us those abilities, interfering with our ability to recognize the grace of God.

Envy is the desire for what rightfully belongs to others—their abilities, intellect, social standing, and possessions.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.

Anger or wrath is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility because something or someone prevents us from getting what we want.  

Greed or avarice is the desire for material wealth or gain that blinds us to the spiritual wealth we already have as a child of God.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work—the very things for which God equipped his finest creation..

Known as the seven deadly sins, these behaviors set man against man, man against God,  and man against nature bringing about the strife that besets the world. However, since each of us is made in the image of God we have an innate sense of right and wrong it’s our conscience. God speaks to us through it, but to the extent that we try to shut it off and listen only to ourselves we become further separated from God.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23

This is the Christian worldview of the origin of man. Moreover, this worldview embraces the understanding that man does not have to be forever separated from his creator. God provided a way for redemption and restoration. It is this hope that makes the Christian worldview at odds with all others.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

If you would like to know more, I encourage you to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

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Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

After hearing the story of creation and the Garden of Eden, youngsters at Vacation Bible School posed numerous questions including these two. Let’s start with the second. Sin is everything that is in opposition to God.

God, creator of the universe is the embodiment of love, justice and all that is good. Therefore, that which is unlovely, unjust and bad, qualifies as sin. But sin is more than that. Whenever we choose to put anything—job, possessions, family, wealth, career, personal aggrandizement, etc.—ahead of God, we are turning our back on God and therefore are sinning. God has proclaimed that this sinning separates us from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

When we lose our ability to hear God and to know how to behave according to his standards, we experience a form of spiritual death. This separation from God carries over into the afterlife where that death is forever, and heartache, torment and pain becomes an eternal punishment.

Why, then, did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? This answer is simple. God loved Adam and Eve just as much as he loves each of us. He loved us so much that he says that he made men and women in his image. (Genesis 2:1-25) He gave humans the capacity to think rationally, to communicate with one another and with God, and to love.

Everyone who has loved or been loved understands that love is a choice. God didn’t force man to love him, he offered him a choice. He created a paradise devoid of sin where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with God. They loved him because God love them so much that he provided for all of their needs. Unfortunately, the risk God took in giving humans free will (to love him or not) was that they might choose to reject his guidance as they did when tempted in the garden.

Listening to Satan and choosing to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was the first act of sin and resulted in death coming to the first man. (Genesis 3:1-24) Spiritual death came first as man was separated from God and driven out of the garden. Physical death followed for Adam and Eve and everyone thereafter.

However, God didn’t give up on man. His love never stopped. In fact, he loved humans so much that he provided a way to restore fellowship with them. The death that came because sin had to be reconciled. Therefore, God performed an ultimate act of love. He sent his own son, Jesus, to take the punishment for the sins of you and me and everyone who has ever lived and everyone who is yet to be born. All he asks is that each of us who want to have a forever relationship with God, acknowledge that we are sinners in need of redemption and accept the gift of life he has to offer. To learn more about how to obtain this gift of live and turn your back on sin, we encourage you to  read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

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When did God create the earth and the universe?

When did God create the earth and the universe?

A youngster asked this question recently at Vacation Bible School. The teacher passed it along to us along with the follow-up question: Was the creation seven days or over a long period of time? The short answer to both these questions is simple; we don’t know.

God created everything out of nothing. That is a concept that our brains can’t conceive. In the same way, God is eternal, with no beginning and no end. That’s another idea that is beyond our  ability to truly grasp. So when trying to answer these questions we need to make some human assumptions. First, we must look at the Bible, God’s inspired word sent to man to help humankind understand God and the world he created. Second, we should take a look at what scientists have to say, because if God created man in his image, he gave man the ability to think and reason. He made man to be in communion with God, so asking and answering questions is a Godly pursuit.

So what does the Bible say about creation?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he 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.

Genesis 1:1-5

In these opening words of the Bible, both questions are answered. When did God create the earth and the universe? The answer is “in the beginning.” At some point in eternity God decided to change what was and create something new. He communicated this idea to men who wrote down, as best they understood, what God was telling them. In the first chapter of Genesis, the creation story was told in poetry so we understand the sequence of the creative process, a process culminating in God’s greatest creation, men and women.

In the opening five verses of Genesis, God answers the second question posed by the student in VBS: Was the creation seven days or over a long period of time? God inspired a writer, generally believed to be Moses, to explain the creative process in terms of days. In this writing, there were six days of creation and a seventh set aside for rest. Obviously, if God is all-powerful, he didn’t need rest as we think of it. So why is creation described as a 6-day process? God answers that in the fourth of what we call the 10 Commandments.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember, God’s idea of time differs radically from ours. His has no beginning and no end. So he gave man the idea of time to measure his days and years and to help us understand the world around us. Throughout the Bible we see seven as a description of perfection. In using seven days to describe the creation, God is saying that his creation was perfect. That is a qualitative, not a quantitative assertion. The Genesis account of creation is not scientific, but poetic and should be read as such. But, should we dismiss the idea that God created everything in the course of six earthly days? Not if we truly believe that God is all-powerful. However, we could ask why an all-powerful God needed six full days to create everything. Why not one day, or one hour, or one minute?

Now let’s look at what most scientists say about the “beginning.” They point to evidence in the speed in which the universe is expanding to suggest that the universe is 13.8 billion years old. They use other measuring tools to calculate the age of the earth at 4.5 billion years. But they can never explain the source of all the energy and mass that comprise the universe.

Other scientists adhere closely to clues in the Bible to advocate for a much younger earth and to mankind’s existence that spans thousands of years, not tens or hundreds of thousands. Unlike those who contend that every living plant and animal evolved over millions of years, scientists who espouse a theory of intelligent design point out many examples in creation of species that have no link to “forebears.” They also point to the complete lack of “missing links” that undermine evolutionary theory.

This is why our answer to the two questions posed by that student at Vacation Bible School is, we don’t know.

However, what we do know is that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it. He created men and women, made them in his image and wanted to enjoy fellowship with his most important creation. However, when humans turned their backs on their creator (this turning away is known as sin), rather than rejecting them totally, God set in motion a plan of redemption–an incredible plan to take away the sins of everyone past present and future. That plan included allowing his son, Jesus, to come to earth and to die in our place in order for us to be brought back into fellowship with God.

We don’t know exactly when he created it, but God created a perfect world and one day he will return to restore that perfection. When he does, there will be a reckoning because sin cannot coexist with perfection. Are you prepared to have an encounter with the creator of everything? If not, you may want to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

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