The Making of the World
28th February 2013, hej
This Article: (5 Pages)
1) A new look at creation.
For a while now I have been dissatisfied with explanations to rebut Evolution. Over a year ago I was asked by someone to think upon how I would answer in favour of the Bible account of creation.
There is plenty of material to and fro from those committed to both sides, and I have read much of the apologetics for a six day creation, which explain in detail what arguments are favoured by Evolutionists and by so doing give place to their arguments and argue on their terms, in their frame of reference. But in favouring obscure observation (atoms/ universe), they miss matters of ordinary observation and experience. Whether true or not, it's 'common sense' that many academics lack it.
The curiosity of choice
Let us begin with a question. What choice did you make to decide what to eat to begin your day and to do today?
Now how and why would youdefend that choice.
But what does this have to do with creation? It turns out that all humans are creatures with an uncanny ability to make choices and by so doing shape themselves and their world.
Beavers might build dams, but they have never invented a new material to make the kind of dams that could destroy a city if they failed. Bower birds might collect, but they don't make squares of woven material covered with synthetic to represent obscure (sometimes whacky) subjects that are collected in vast numbers in buildings so large that it may result in kilometers of walking to view them. Monkeys might make rough tools, but ancient civilizations have left stones to make flour which is only useful if you make bread (the Quern stone found Abu Hureyra, Syria is just one example with another being the ancient stone found from the Dead Sea (oldest_evidence_wild_cereals.pdf). In addition from earliest times of pottery they made something very complex indeed, alcohol. From Iran to a Neolithic village Jiahu in China, the remnants of alcohol have been found on the oldest pottery. Ancient pottery found in Iran was purpose designed to remove the by-product crystals (Patrick McGovern's discoveries were featured in 2010, a-thirst-for-beer alcohol-s-neolithic). Birds might make nests and travel long distances, but humans from the earliest times made tall buildings and moved large stones, often aligned to observe the complexities of the heavens. In other words, humans are unique in making choices and shaping their world, way beyond anything observed in any other creature, and they have been this way from the earliest evidence found. Many animals may be cunning as predators, but there is every evidence humans have by far the greater cunning in their inventions from the earliest times to eliminate other living things.
The origins of these peculiar traits of humans defy explanation, but more than that consider your ability to make things now. Even if you are not a Christian, you should know that Jesus ( Y'shua) was a carpenter.
When the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence has this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. (Mark 6:2-3)
We see two key things. The first is that mighty works were 'wrought' or in Greek “ginomai” “caused to be”, from 'gen' from which we have 'generate'. The second point is that they said he is the carpenter.
Now just why is it that he was a carpenter? Why wasn't he some great scholar from the priests? It seems from this revealing criticism that until this point Y'shua had seemed to those who knew him, to be unremarkable, except as the carpenter. Since becoming a man until age 30 he was known to make things.
We are told that he had a remarkable intellect at age 12.
It came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. (Luke 2:46-47)
But still, until 30 he was a carpenter, making things...
An aside on Y'shua the carpenter
The importance of Making things
How important is it that we know the greatest man made real things? Saul-Paul who wrote the majority of the New Testament, though a significant scholar, was also tent-maker who called himself an architect (term of wider application than today).
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder (architektōn), I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds upon it. (1Cor 3:10)
Foremost among the Apostles were a band of four fishermen who were to become “fishers of men” (Matt 4:19, Mark 1:17). If Paul, as an urban tentmaker and builder, says he is building the congregation's foundation, what did the carpenter do?
When speaking to the Athenians Paul said God made the world and all in it,
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; (Acts 17:24)
Writing to the Hebrews there was more detail about the work being made at that time,
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds (aion/ ages); (Hebrews 1:1-2)
How did God make the worlds/ eras/ ages by his son? John introduces his account of Y'shua,
He was in the world (kosmos), and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:10-11)
The carpenter makes everyday items from 12 to age 30, and then after age 30 he makes in 3 years the world (kosmos / order/ arrangement decoration). The context of John implies he is speaking of the work Y'shua did (despite his own village and nation initially not accepting him).
The Bible is full of references to the Almighty doing and making, including direct from himself,
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if you have understanding. Who has laid the measures thereof, if thou know? or who has stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,” (Job 38:4-9)
In addition to this there are too many statements to list about what the Holy One of Israel said he will do. He is doing things all the time, and he will do yet more things, as he said he would. So much is this making and doing associated with the God of Israel that when he gave his name to Moses in Exodus 34 it literally meant “I will become” (or “He who will become”), which is established by other use of the Hebrew word “I will be” in the same passage (for more To be and become.
Each of us may be readily defined by what we do. We could say the Holy One of Israel called himself “He who will do and make things”. Due to the division of labour we do not do all things necessary for our life, we tend to specialise. The Holy One of Israel by his name says he does and makes all things.
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; (Isaiah 44:24)
This is present tense. When we look to the heavens we see clouds moving and being 'stretched', we know the earth is moving.
Have ye not known? have ye not heard? has it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: (Isaiah 40:21-22)
Zechariah introduces the Hoy One of Israel in a similar way,
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. (Zechariah 12:1)
This does not say he stretched the heavens in the past, but that he is doing it in the current world, day-to-day moving and making things.
The statement about the spirit of man, is again not in the past but daily.
Who knows not in all these that the hand of the LORD has wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:9-10) and
These wait all upon thee; that thou may give them their meat in due season. That you give them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hide thy face, they are troubled: thou take away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. (Psalm 104:27-29) and
Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (Isaiah 42:5)
Therefore the truly big questions of life is about how things work NOW. The big question of origins, pales to insignificance. We can argue about that to little purpose as it is history now and we weren't there and we can't make things as they were back then to test any theory.
We have a strong link between in the things God makes and the very question of life, day to day, moment to moment.
Take a breath. The truly huge question is regarding living breathing life, itself, now.
But this is an intractable question, as the counterpart of that question is why do we die? The answer is that we 'just do' and it is an observable fact.
Questions are always good, and the Bible lets us ask questions that otherwise have no answer. It answers questions we may have than none human can answer. We can ask “why do we breathe?” We can ask “why do clouds move?” We can ask “why does the water cycle work in the way it does?” We can ask, “why plants make oxygen?”
2) An ongoing making of the World (day to day)
The counterpart to giving breath is the ongoing work of making the world suitable for life. There are observations about how fit for life the world is.
So finely balanced is the world that even the sub atomic particles would not hold together if the force binding them was 2% weaker. If it was a mere 1% stronger the plentiful Hydrogen of earth would be rare as would be atoms heavier than iron. Water is the oddest molecule, and it oddity results in behaviour critical for life, including that ice floats. Even more curious is that the Beryllium isotope has an energy match for the helium nucleus, which allows the formation of Carbon and Nitrogen. The water cycle is it self critical for life, as is the carbon cycle. Another amazing cycle is an interdependent one as the moon's gravitations force balances the tilt of the earth that gives us seasons. Gravity, due to the spin of the earth, holds the atmosphere in place. The amount of gravity is rather important as is shown by the effects of space travel, and planes. If we have little the body does not develop well, and tasks are difficult, if we have too much gravity we black out. The point related to every one of these phenomena is that they are currently occurring.
Everywhere we look there is movement. If the origins of the energy to form the universe create unanswerable questions, the fact that it's still moving in an orderly manner create more. Not only did matter clump together in a non-even way, by the application of energy, at some point, it stays clumped together, and exhibits orderly and rotational behaviour.
To achieve rotation, or motion in a curve, acceleration or input force is required. This is a fact observed by those making things that move in space, such as satellites, or indeed anyone who makes things that move. And to keep things moving in a curve further inputs of force are required. So how is it that the planets still circle the sun and the moon circles the earth? In addition there is lots of rotational motion to be observed including comets. For more on this see Doing things in Space
How might this be explained? What force is applied day to day? What makes the force holding the earth, like a tennis ball on a string about the sun?Where does this force come from? The forces involved are huge. In addition these forces are ordered and precise.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shews his handywork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shews knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line (Heb: chord/ rule/ connection) is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, (Psalm 19:1-4)
An invisible 'line' does go through the earth! Observations of the heavens made from earth show what the Mighty One makes.
The greatest advances throughout history were by those who made things. It was well known that Isaac Newton made his own telescope and equipment. From these came his observations on optics. He also is known to have made a working model of the solar system. Joseph Priestley who wrote a manual on electricity and found oxygen, was always making things and building new equipment to test ideas. Flight was achieved by the Wright brothers who built things and tested them in the process rewriting the formula for lift. There has been great success in making things from advances in medicine to the internet. Why is it that a few people are held in high esteem who merely think, or theorise?
Why is it that when God sent his son to the world, that son went out having been trained and having worked for half his life as a carpenter; as someone who made things?
Before we get into an argument about ancient history, or about cells, or about DNA the relevant question for now is what force drives the movement we observe now in the heavens, and the cycles we see on earth? We see the world is being made, we see we can make things, and we see how making things helps us understand how our world works.
In this way I re-frame an approach so our focus aligns with our observations in the real day-to-day world. And we can ask a new question about how we make things.
3) Why and how we make things
Unless we understand what is so important about making things I suspect we will miss entirely the most important thing about being a human, and the origins of life.
If someone was to ask you why you do something, it reveals how we use choice and our will. These same two things allow us to lesser or greater degrees to shape our world. We do most things for a reason, and sometimes that reason is because we can do them and we feel like doing it.
A designer or inventor of a new engineering project, building, a product might make a world changing thing. If they were asked how they did it, they might find it hard to tell you, except to list the steps of things they did and said.
After years of research and working with product designers, Donald Norman tries explain what they are doing in his book Emotional Design. He points out that emotion cannot be separated from cognition.[i]
Practicing designers, who regularly design complex functioning objects contribute to understanding the acts of creation, both Divine and human. Lawson after both being a design practitioner and studying design theory for four decades writes,
‘There seems to be a certain kind of knowledge and understanding that is very hard to attain in any other way than by actually designing seriously.’[ii]
Jesus (Y'shua) would have had this understanding as a carpenter. Lawson wrote that 'problems' and creative solutions,
‘do not map onto each other in any logical, predictable or generally understandable way...the problem- solution relationship in design ... is simply not there. In good design we can seldom de-compose the solution…the overall pattern and shape beautifully and simultaneously manages to solve all the problems pretty well…it is not a matter of optimizing but of ‘satisficing [sic]’, or getting everything good enough.’[iii]
Skilled architects may solve multiple utilitarian functions in a way that is akin to irreducibly complex systems in nature. But it is to be noted that even the best that humans can achieve is only solving all the perceived problems ‘pretty well’, or being ‘good enough’. Arne Jacobsen, one of Denmark’s top designers, at the peak of his career said,
‘To get a thing ..where one can say, “There, now it’s good”, that’s very difficult to achieve.’[iv]
A ‘good’ design satisfies required functions but does not perfectly meet all possible functions. This may be an object lesson as, as nature occupies the same three dimensional space as human-made objects and is made from materials that are on earth.
Good design vs Perfection in Creation
Human ideals of perfection akin to ‘infinity’ are absent from the Bible. Mature designers who are conscious their design has attained a pleasing irreducible complexity may judge their work once built as ‘good’ or ‘good enough’. An exemplar parallel with this, is that God’s creation is ‘very good’,
‘God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.’ (Genesis 1:31)
Hebrew has a word close to the English idea of perfect, in the word tâmîym. It is used of Noah (Gen 6:9). Noah’s life was complete, full and ‘perfect’, whereas creation was ‘very good’. Strongs’ scholars define the Hebrew word for ‘good’, tob, as ‘fair, joyful, sweet, pleasant, fine, gracious, precious and beautiful’. The word used for Creation described the emotion elicited, not its perfection. The idea that creation is ‘perfect’ can be traced to pagan Greek thinking and is not of Hebrew origin. The following expresses this understanding,
‘Pythagoras (-500 BC) - put forward the idea that the earth was round, but not on the basis of observation; rather he, like many ancient philosophers, believed that a sphere was the perfect shape and the gods would have therefore created the Earth in this form.’[vi]
That nature does not meet human ideals of ‘perfect’ does not indicate the absence of God. It merely proves the falseness of the pagan Pythagorean gods and ideals.
We have no way of measuring the origin of life, as it is not occurring now. Humans are making new creations in processes which scientists -researchers can observe, and these may provide a rich source of understanding of the historic creation of life, and more so to understand the ongoing day-to-day sustaining of life.
We might next look at the text about what was made and why it was made.
The Creator on His design
Incidental detail in the Bible indicates a reliable provenance for the account of Creation. According to the list of genealogies, Noah was born 112 years after Adam died. Methuselah could have known Adam, Noah and Shem. Shem was still alive during the time of Abraham, as they died approximately at the same time. According to Genesis, information was obtained from a book (Hebrew רפס sepher) or writing (Gen 5:1). If the writing quoted in Genesis dated to Abraham, the account of creation need only have been fourth hand. In any case, the account of creation in the Bible is a historical document with good credentials.
The Bible’s account of creation demonstrates a pattern found in architects’ explanation of their creation. The first statement of creation intent is,
‘And God said, “let there be light”.’ (Genesis 1:3)
The word ‘dialogue’ is used often by creators. This process has been documented by Donald Schon using case studies of designers at work. In speaking of one designer’s process Schon observes,
‘He says in effect “Let it be the case that X….” and shapes the situation so that X becomes true…it is a game with the situation in which he seeks to make the situation conform to his hypothesis but remains open to the possibility it will not.[viii]
Schon, concludes that for the expert designer the process as a ‘reflective conversation’, where after each ‘move’ the situation reveals new possibilities. Lawson confirms the role of language in design noting that experienced designers have in their mind ‘schemata to which are attached symbolic descriptions’.[ix] In the Bible’s account of creation, after the work is done it is recorded “And God saw the light as good.” God then called the light ‘day.’ Schon notes that:
‘when a [design] practitioner sees a problem, he chooses and names the things he will notice.’[x]
In Genesis each act is verbalized as a ‘move’ and then is examined after it is complete, before being pronounced good. Sometimes a ‘move’ is named before being pronounced good and sometimes it is pronounced good and then named. The reason why expert architects and designers ‘name’ the things that are to be addressed and then ‘frame’[xi] the context in which they address them is that
‘problems of real word practice do not present themselves to practitioners as well formed structures. Indeed, they tend not to present themselves as problems at all but as messy indeterminate situations.’[xii]
This was confirmed in research by Lang.[xiii] It was in just such a way that the world presented itself to the Creator. It is written that before the creating was begun that,
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”
The Hebrew word for ‘without form’ is tohu, and also means ‘confusion’. In other words the world presented as formless, messy and dark. In the same way, messy indeterminate situations are the beginning of design for a creative architect. Chapter one of Genesis is consistent as an authentic account of a truly creative design process where a ‘creative move’, or intent, is made in a formless situation, ‘named’ and reflection in action occurs, as requirements related to the intent are tested. Schon points out that routine non-creative actions are knowing-in-action and don’t involve reflection.[xiv] The simple account of creation has very few words, yet, the repetition of ‘let us’ and the observation that what was seen as ‘good’, are not mere repetitions, but the trace of a creative design process.
In the early stages of the creative process in Genesis the things noticed (or ‘framed’) and named are large scale and don’t require an explanation as to the intent of the design move. On day four there is some comment as to what is in the mind of God regarding the placement of the sun and moon
‘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.’ (Genesis 1:18)
The word translated ‘rule’ Hebrew mashal means ‘to have power’, the design of the sun and moon satisfies a desire that God has to express an idea God has about the way things should be. God wants ‘light’, in His design, to rule over ‘darkness’. The design is not mere function. It isn’t about making light for plants to grow. God wants to convey a meaning. It is about creating an experience for intelligent life, not just about creating a mechanical solution to a functional problem.
Scientific observation of teams of designers at work creating, show that they value creating experiences, and that their design process includes anecdotes about experience.[xv] As Schon pointed out in his ground breaking research on the 1980’s, ‘technical rationality’ could not explain the experimental or creative work of an experienced architect (or any innovative professional)[xvi].
At the start of a creative design process the designer observes confusion and formlessness. In the middle there is intense and all absorbing thought and action. At the end, when a new ‘order’ is arranged in a ‘form’ that has been made from ‘mess’ or ‘formlessness’, there is an immense satisfaction, euphoria and an indefinable feeling of having nothing to do. The Bible account of creation is amazing in that it captures this experience in a few words.
‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.’ (Genesis 2:3)
Other cultures wove narrative stories, and Gilgamesh comes to mind as an example. The Hebrews instead stuck with a short plain account matching a design process that features a dialogue.
It is rare as designers, while creating something new, do something similar, but don't think of it while doing it, and in fact can't do so as their faculty for reflection is fully engaged in the process of creating. In itself the account of creation is an extraordinary artefact of skilled observation, that could not have been made up except by someone who had studied a group creating such things. There is no author who can imagine something they cannot themselves know of. No author can image a more brilliant conversation than they might speak themselves, or have heard. How did a bunch of Hebrews emerging from slavery have such a brilliant, original and perceptive text?
A Meaningful and Functional Creation
There was more on God’s mind than mere function when living things were blessed to multiply, as on day six, humans were given ‘dominion’ or ‘rule’(Gen 1:28) over all living things. The set up of this design ‘frame’ is counter-intuitive in terms of pure function. If the animals are to multiply, they are going to cause problems for humans. From God’s perspective it is ‘designed in’ that humans need to put effort into controlling the multiplication of living things. The account doesn’t say why God was thinking this way, only that this was the design ‘frame’. We see in it the way we chose things based on our will. It may be thought bad design, but it is God’s architectural creation of an experience for human life. Its most powerful outcome is that it teaches us that we need to have dominion over both nature and our human nature.
God speaking about God’s creation
The Bible does not speak much of natural creation beyond the account in Genesis, focusing more on the human condition and the fate of nations. However, in the book of Job, God speaks about his creation of the natural world. Job and his friends’ dialogue was, in substance, about the reason for Job’s affliction, which they tried to understand using observation. God then answers Job and his friends and points out his sovereignty and the role of his creative will in nature. It is too lengthy to quote, but some examples are enough.
‘Who has sent out the wild ass free? or who has loosed the bands of the wild ass? Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings.’ (Job 39:5-6)
God said he made the wild ass and designed it for its habitat.
‘The goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Which leaves her eggs in the earth, and warms them in dust. She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; Because God has deprived her of wisdom, neither has he imparted to her understanding.’ (Job 39:13-17)
‘Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at your command, and make her nest on high?’ (Job 39:26-27)
In other words, the way the world exists, is due to the fact that God made design decisions. In this case, the specific decisions that the ostrich will bury their young in sand and that the hawk would nest in rocks. No further reason is given. Yet both birds in our culture are lessons: the head buried in the sand avoiding unpleasantness, and the farsightedness of the eagle. The implication is that the function of reproduction was not as important as the lesson for humans in the ‘form’ chosen for the birds.
The two animals spoken of last in Job seem the most special: Behemoth and Leviathan. Leviathan describes a dragon-dinosaur best. Ancient records in China show they found bones and knew they had existed. Job could have known of them though none were in existence in his day. This is a point regarding their destruction and that of the 'greats' or proud,
‘Deck yourself now with majesty and excellency; and array yourself with glory and beauty. Cast abroad the rage of your wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him’. (Job 40:10-11)
These mighty animals far exceed human strength and even the strong and mighty cannot tame them. We don't know when, but they are gone. In creating the majesty of their strength, God demonstrated his power by forcing humans to feel humble in the presence of the power of the beasts he had made. But the strength of their form was for glory and beauty, not merely function.
[i] Norman, Donald. A. Emotional Design. Basic Books, New York. p9-10. 2004.
[ii] Lawson, Bryan. What Designers Know. Architectural Press Elsevier. Oxford. p7.2004
[iii] Ibid p11
[iv] Jacobsen, Arne. ‘The new is always criticised’. Arne Jacobsen Architect and Designer. Dansk Design Centre København. p130. 1971
[viii] Schon, Donald A. Educating the Reflective Practitioner. Jossey-Bass Publications San Francisco. p73 1987
[ix] Lawson, Bryan. What Designers Know. Architectural Press Elsevier. Oxford. p62. 2004
[x] Ibid p 4
[xi] Schon, Donald A. The Reflective Practitioner, How professionals think in action. Basic Books. p40. 1983
[xii] Schon, Donald A. Educating the Reflective Practitioner. Jossey-Bass Publications. San Francisco. p4 1987.
[xiii] Lang, J. Creating Architectural Theory. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. New York. p 23. 1987
[xiv]Schon, Donald A. Educating the Reflective Practitioner. Jossey-Bass Publications. San Francisco. p28 1987.
[xv] Lawson, Bryan. What Designers Know. Architectural Press Elsevier. Oxford. P92. 2004
[xvi] Schon, Donald A. The Reflective Practitioner, How professionals think in action. Basic Books. 1983
4) Why Six Days? Why Six Thousand Years?
If we look about at the diversity we see, we may ponder that if the angelic host were delegated to make it all, it might have taken some time. We can only speculate. It is ancient history. It's as useless as wondering why a president was assassinated without the one who did it explaining their motives. It was history, it happened and we might never know why. But we know why six days was chosen.
The six days is having an effect now. Most of the world has a seven day week. In addition there is a reason given for six days and a seventh one of rest and joy,
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:10-11)
There is no room to move on understanding what is meant by a day here, and how long six days was. Israel acted out the creation pattern (at full scale) every week. For reasons known by the Mighty One of Israel, and the choices made at creation, he decided it was good for humans to labour for six days and rest for one. Not only did he ask that humans rest but that all living, breathing domesticated creatures (that laboured) also rested.
A day is defined as a 24 hour day by no less than God, and today you also keep a seven day week. There is a pattern of seven in terms of years but that is never related to creation. After every seven years there was to be a Sabbath rest of the land for the poor. After seven lots of seven years there was a jubilee of joy in returning to lost inheritances. All these contributed to defining the social values associated with 'rest' of equity and good to the poor.
To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. (Isaiah 28:12)
The most that a day may be stretched to is a thousand years.
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. (Psa 90:4 cp 2 Peter 3:8 'a day as a 1,000 years' )
In terms of what the Creator did each day, a thousand years is too long for each irreducible complex interconnected part to survive. A day is long enough. However there is a point in matching each 24 hour day to a 1,000 years of history, and establishing that a “rest” swill occur after 6,000 years of human history, in the seventh 1,000 year era.
The significance of the 7th day of rest to the future seems to be well known by Jews and was drawn out by Paul,
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limits a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus (Joshua see context) had given them rest (when the Israelites entered the land), then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 4:3-11)
In other words such is the great significance of the idea of rest, that we know it is designed to make us hope for and desire a time of equity.
The two most challenged ideas of the Genesis record are the six days and the short lapse of time since of about 6,000 years. The literal nature of the six days is confirmed in the Jewish law, where the language gives no room to move on it. The Mighty One of Israel said he created all in six days and they are the same six days Israel observed and the same that we keep now. The six thousand years or so also has the most reliable confirmation there is. Of all source documents, a genealogy with corresponding history and internal checks and detailed time-lines is the most reliable of all. No expertise is needed other than patience and anyone can check the Bible's chronology. The problem with human ideas of how long ago things occurred is that they were not there, they have no evidence of uniformity, and like a forensic team on a very cold case, they are making lots of assumptions.
The Bible says when the work began the earth was without form and void. What it was before that we don't know. The stars (a term including planets) were then set in place for times and seasons. If the planest and sun were moved we wouldn't know. And in any case the universe is a puzzle (full stop). It was a long time ago, except for written text close to the time, everything is an educated guess.
Just as you or I might chose to make something, according to our will, as we see fit, so the great designer and sustainer of all life chose to do the work in six days. The day of rest turns out to have deep significance, especially to those on the eve of the end of 6,000 years of recorded history (based on the Bible chronology), in terms of a 7th 1,000 year era of rest.
Who do you believe?
If modern man's highest authority is himself, why does he make other modern men more important than himself and believe what they think? And why make those who 'think' more important than those who make things? And then we consider that the most remarkable man who walked the earth, was someone who made things, and was not known as a thinker. His message was often about doing. In the end those who make things and do things have greater impact on the world.
Often mere theorists who cannot test their theories are proven wrong. Some ancient Greeks made the mistake of venerating thinkers and it resulted mistaken directions in human thought that dominated for over 1,000 years. The ones who 'think' admit they can't explain many things, and often pose more questions than they can answer. They can't explain why there is current force in the universe doing things in in the atmosphere and space now. There is still no explanation for the ordered movement of clouds, or what generates lightning.
As such a great ordered force exists, the amount of specific order indicates intelligence greater than humans have. As this force-energy-power is able to do things we cannot, it is not unreasonable that this great Power told us what was done to make the things we see?
Ongoing current action as a result of miracle
This account in the Bible means what it says, as it is a simple communication. It is seen as literal in subsequent genealogies. It is attached as a few pages to a large book full of eye-witness attested miracles, some of the most remarkable being attached to the events surrounding Israel coming out of Egypt as a nation, with a law of unsurpassed brilliance.
If Israel's history is not as they wrote it, then they have no history at all. Also they projected their fate into the future as prophecy, with a series of miracles in the modern world fulfilling what was written over 2,000 years ago. The most astounding prediction, is one that can't be denied. It is in the same set of books as the account of creation.
And among these nations shall thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: (Deuteronomy 28:65)
Among the nations Jews always had to move due to persecution for nearly 2,000 years. But in the order of the prophecy there is more,
And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shall call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God has driven thee, And shall return unto the LORD thy God, and shall obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God has scattered thee. (Deut. 30:1-3)
As in the question of origins, the issues that affect the lives of people of the world are about ongoing day-to-day consequences of those miracles in the modern world. The most remarkable evidence for the account of Genesis being reasonable, is that it is attached to a series of books which include prophecy literally fulfilled in detail in the modern world by a nation which makes it to the news most nights.
5) Evidence the God of Israel called on
When speaking of evidence, the God of Israel spoke of his power and his work but he leaned all the burden of proof of his existence to his witnesses.
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. (Isaiah 43:10-12)
When it came to putting forward evidence, the God of Israel did not point to creation instead he pointed to Israel. It has not been to their glory to be chased about the world as a witness, while their land as desolated. It has not been to their glory to become a nation again, as no nations has attracted such criticism, yet the very enmity of those who reject the Bible has established what was shown to Jews and meticulously kept by them, though it condemned them and spoke of future evil.
And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them show unto them. (Isaiah 44:7)
Logically, if these people witness to their living God who is a God of truth (Isaiah 65;16), and their witness is true (being fulfilled), then it follows the account given of creation is a true account (though written from a specific viewpoint and for an audience throughout the ages of varying abilities).
For more see God's witness of prophecy
Does acceptance of the account in Genesis as literal preclude scientific advancement?
The problem with thinkers is that they are often not doers. Scientific advancement was not achieved by pure thought. Great maths and theoretical physics would be like art, unless doing people had invented things and done things to use those ideas.
When people make things, they exercise choice and their will. Ask any designer to be honest as to why something is the way it is, and why they made it that way. Ask yourself why you do things. It is the people who do things who advance experimental science, and unless theory is useful to their choices, it has little bearing. In reality ancient history, and theories of origins, have little effect on people who do things with purpose, to solve modern problems or to meet new opportunities they see in the modern world. Compare a lifetime spent making up stories about what might have made things they observe (which they can't verify as they weren't there and it's not observable now) to the same time spent analysing how the complex mechanism works (which is verifiable and repeatable in many living samples) and how it might be imitated in a new invention.
Where humans have come from historically might be of interest, but it is only useful if it has some bearing on where we are now and where we are going. It is very telling which cultures like digging up the past now and why they began doing it.
There is an effect which is extremely curious called 'the protestant work ethic'. For some reason the more people read the whole Bible, and the more their culture takes from it, and they more they accept it as literal, the more likely they are to do things successfully. It might be because it is a book about a Creator doing things. It might be because of the Bible's insistence on literal truth without exaggeration, or respect of persons.
Also such people seem more ready to ask questions. It might be because unlike the great thinkers of the earth, the Bible has answers to unanswerable questions that don't close avenues of enquiry but rather open new questions. Some people might not like those answers, of course.
To those who love the Bible, and understand it literally, the world is full of beautiful integrated complexity within, and between, “kinds” or species which is evidence that fits this understanding. Literal creationists were first to notice variation in species (kinds). If there was no mechanisms for change in DNA from generation to generation, influenced by the environment, there would not be the beauty due to the variety that there is. The more they look the more they find evidence for the Creator of the Bible who loves complexity (as evidenced by the Bible itself). The more research is done, from the atom to the universe, the more complexity is found. The more we might find, the more we can delight in looking.
He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. (Proverbs 25:2)
It's worth asking whether evidence that seems to contradict the Bible hasn't a flaw. It is always interesting to see where apparent contradiction in the Bible itself leads as it often leads to underlying confirmation once context is considered. Therefore to apply it to new research might yield some surprising answers about the science involved. The tenet of research is that it must be capable of withstanding the same kind of scrutiny often levelled at the Bible. There is no certainty, or authority, in the world of human ideas, as is admitted by those who theorise about research itself. As for theories of science, it is hard to pin it down, but the sense is that research pragmatically focuses on observable repeatable mechanisms, and for convenience and ideology defines out a Creator as a cause. Then no wonder while there is more understanding of mechanisms there are increasing numbers of questions as to why things happen. It's profitable to read the bits about assumptions, limitations and margins of error.
When presented with new ideas you might ask, what would I think if the person telling me this was a carpenter? In this way the idea must stand on its merit. Fundamentally making human thought 'great', and having respect of persons is foolish. As a warning example a 'genius' of last century not only made a mess of his personal life, but in addition, though he was shown by experimental evidence to be right on some things he'd proposed when he was unknown, he was wrong on other things when he was famous. There are problems for those who serve, or make people 'great' and elevate them rather that God.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:20-22)
For more The new Creation
It has been in my heart to write about an observation regarding the movement in the heavens : weather, climate, sun and universe. It concerns me that people do not give the God of the Bible the glory for His gift of life, moment to moment, and the giving of rain and sun.
Three times in the Bible we are introduced to the creation of the heavens and earth. The first instance is in Genesis, the second is by the prophet Isaiah and the third is in Revelation.
Recent findings suggest once again that science reveals how much is not known. Venus was found to have a longer day than was measured by the Magellan in the early 1990's: a noticeably and significantly longer day. The motion in the universe might be more quixotic than many had thought.