Genesis day 1/3 explanation

Here is one of the most recent blog posts by Hugh Ross about this:

He references a paper (on a topic I know nothing about- I’m a biophysics guy) but the introduction of the paper reads:

The possible presence of an organic haze layer in the atmosphere of Archean Earth, similar to the one currently present in the atmosphere of Titan, has been suggested by a number of studies (see, e.g., Sagan & Chyba 1997; Pavlov et al. 2001a, 2001b; Domagal-Goldman et al. 2008; Haqq-Misra et al. 2008; Wolf & Toon 2010) and has been of particular interest as a factor in the resolution of the Faint Young Sun Paradox.

Later on in the article Ross writes:

They noted that oxygen concentrations greater than 20 parts per million “resulted in a decrease in aerosol production rate with increasing O2 concentration.”4 That is, the less oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, the denser the atmospheric haze will be.

That is a direct quote from the paper, but his conclusion outside of the quotes is not what the paper actually said. It’s only when O2 gets greater than 20 ppm is there a decrease in the aerosol production rate (a little O2 actually increased the haze!) and they found that it did not fully suppress haze formation even at higher O2 concentrations. But if you do increase the concentration high enough, the haze would eventually clear.

Basically the deal is that depending on the gas concentration of our atmosphere, the earth would be more or less hazy. Generally speaking gases like methane = haze, gases like oxygen = less haze. A brief overview of the evidence we have for a primordial organize haze can be seen here:
The Pale Orange Dot: The Spectrum and Habitability of Hazy Archean Earth

However, we have evidence of the atmosphere going back and forth several times between transparent and translucent well before the ‘timeline of Genesis’ as read by RTB:
A bistable organic-rich atmosphere on the Neoarchaean Earth

So my takeaway is that one can make the Genesis text say anything it needs to if you look at it through a cloud of haze.


very well put :smile: I have to admire all the effort put into their impressions, and I learn from them–but I certainly do feel covered in haze, sometimes, in the middle of this.

1 Like

Pretty clever, Reggie…Similar to God’s way of challenging and refuting Pharoah’s religious philosophy prior to and during the Exodus…I may not call it “paralleling the ANE texts” but rather God speaking the sort of language that His hearers would understand…today He would use a different vocabulary to make similar points if needed.

1 Like

Not even that, the text clearly identifies the light as ‘day’, i.e. daylight, i.e. daylight is independent from sunlight, consistent with what we find in Mesopotamian and Greek texts.

Jesus rose on the third (24 hour) day according to the Scriptures. To argue your point, you need to state what Scriptures are being referenced in the New Testament. To my knowledge there is only one prophetic reference to resurrection on the third 24 hour day, and that is Hosea.

We are talking about a “rule” in Biblical Hebrew. If you apply the rule to Hosea yes it makes the prophetic reference correct. However, in the actual verse it would make no sense. Hosea is not talking about an actual time period of 3 days but an indeterminate period of time. So the yom with an ordinal does not mean a literal 24 hour day and the rule is broken.

If you have already decided that Genesis 1 is an ANE myth adjusted to be monotheistic, then you’re going to find all kinds of nits to pick in concordist ideas. But if you look at it without that previous mindset, you have to admit that the Genesis 1 account is closer to the way things actually happened than we have any right to expect from such an ancient text. When the universe opened in the Big Bang, energy and matter were created; light is energy, and darkness is matter. Whenever else would God separate light from darkness? When were light and darkness, energy and matter, joined and in need of separation except in the singularity? Then the sky is created–what else is the sky but the rest of the universe which we see when we look up at night. Then life in the water which began as plant life, then animal life in the water, then life on land, then man. How did ancient people get all that right? Were they just lucky? I think concordism deserves a bit more thought.


For some time I have thought it was very interesting that the first creation story says that the earth brought forth life, which is the same story that many atheists accept.

A complication is that the second creation story tells us that man was formed before any plants had sprung up. That timeline is incompatible as literal history with the first creation story. That difference is an indication that the early chapters of Genesis are not to be taken as literal history.

i see no evidence in the text that the POV has changed suddenly from one verse to the next. If God is the author of Genesis, it makes more sense that His cosmic view continues throughout the account, rather than at the start to be ‘hovering’ over the earth as it was developing, and then suddenly to be on the ground as it were, looking up. I used to try to think along similar lines, but ultimately have found it unconvincing. And of course it ignores the evidence for parallelisms and poetry within the Hebrew text, which strongly indicates we are not to understand it as a straightforward narrative. It isnt.

1 Like

In trying to reconcile the Genesis account with the findings of modern science, Im afraid you’re twisting both the text and the science so that they both fit your preferred understanding.

Since when was matter called ‘night’? Rather this simply reflects the ancients’ understanding of day and night as experienced on earth and has nothing to do with energy. Similarly you twist the text re plants to mean they first appeared in the seas and oceans, even though the text explicitly states “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” No mention of water. I could continue.

As for other ANE myths, it is not so much what you say but rather that the evidence of the text itself points one in the direction of it being a strong polemic against other existing NE creation stories. And not in a straightforward narrative but rather in poetic style, as evidenced by the use of parallelisms etc in the Hebrew.

It is quite an assumption to say that God was the author of Genesis.

I was referring to Dale’s comment, as he was to whom I was replying, “I consider the author of Genesis to be God, the Author of the cosmos.”

I was making the point that it seems strange that the POV suddenly changes from cosmic looking down on the forming earth, to being on that forming earth and looking up, if it is all from God’s Pov.

1 Like

I was not saying that matter is called night. I was trying to be brief, and only pointing to the obvious connection between matter and darkness. About plants, I meant to say that life appears first as plants, then as animals; animals first in water, then on land. It does seem that life began in tidal pools, so land is part of the beginning of life. You say you could continue. Do. Is there a way we could continue this in emails if no one else is interested? I would like to know what the arguments are to seeing Gen 1 (not Gen 2ff) as a reasonable history of God creating the universe and the earth in just the way we have discovered that it was made.

1 Like

missed this thread being a more occasional reader.
Sequences of light and dark before the 24 hour cycle could appear would have been down to the composition of the atmosphere. If you imagine an atmosphere full of particulates the earth will act almost like an integrating sphere where you might create the effect of shadow, but not darkness. I always wondered how they could know all this back then, as it is not obvious and in the language of the new atheists these were after all the fairy tales of primitive goat herders :slight_smile:

The behaviour of microparticulates in the atmosphere is a strange one indeed so I am looking forward to read some of the articles mentioned here,but oxygen is clearly not enough to clear the atmosphere sufficiently.

To me the correspondence of Genesis with the geological timescale

is sufficiently impressive to give credit to those primitive goat herders to very advanced understanding of reality.

It is the pubertarian behaviour of man, it’s fallen nature, not to want to give credit to the forefathers but to think of them as primitive goat herders clueless about the important things of reality, such as Iphones,consumerism and gender definitions. This becomes the more important the more you feel the need to belittle others in order to establish your own authority.
If there was only light but no matter there would be no darkness as there could neither be absorption nor interference but only light.

The question of opposing concordism is why one would want to do it. Considering that the bible was written to give even to the illiterate a worldview that allowed them to have a meaningful interaction with reality using poetic language as to describe reality in its physical as well as it’s metaphysical realm it is an ingenious form of literature. It is only the materialists who demand a scientific textbook that describes reality in materialistic terms only. They just do not realise how impoverished theri view of reality has become - and those stuck in puberty, afraid of giving credit to their forefathers.
The litmus test is to ask them if they believe the bible to claim that it is okay to kill your slave slowly and if the read the bible as if they were so stupid to believe that showing the sheep debarked striped branches gave rise to spotted sheep when reading the OT. If so, they are lost to the concept of contextual reading, e.g. to think further than a sentence. Guess it gets worse with prolonged use of Twitter :slight_smile:

Remember that the old geezers could not have a clue about reality and any attempt in trying to give them credit for creating an executive summary is futile, particularly with modern day executives who are so materialised that they cannot fathom poetic language any more. If the authors talk millions of years they should have said so - and also explain what a “gigaannum” is and how fathom the concept of 10^9 :slight_smile:
How could they think of something they could not possibly understand?

I do not think that the light and darkness applied to conditions on earth: I believe that when God said ‘let there be light’ he started the big bang. Only energy existed at first, or rather matter was at first in the form of energy due to the enormous temperature of the nascent universe. As the temperature decreased, matter (hadrons) were able to form and we had the first matter. Matter, by blocking light is the only way we can have darkness, since light waves move until they are blocked by a particle. There was no earth on the first day: earth was formed (created) during the second day when God allowed space to be formed by gravity pulling matter together to form the heavenly bodies, stars, planets, gas clouds, etc. Verse 1 isn’t describing God’s action in creating, but is simply the title of the account that is going to be told. Verse 2 says the earth had no shape and no substance. Anything that has no shape or substance does not exist except as a concept, i.e. the earth was an idea in God’s mind. Then, with that idea in mind, God ignited the big bang.
The rest is history. :slightly_smiling_face:

  1. Plant life begins in the ocean and moves on to land.
  2. The Hebrew word translated “birds” or “fowls” also could apply to flying insects which would better fit the geologic record. My article, “Days of Creation: Hours or Eons?” was published 30 years ago in PSCF and is on the list of published articles on the ASA website.

One doesn’t have to be a science type to map any creation allegory to a four year old’s understanding of Earth history (written in rock and cellulose and flesh and nucleic acids). There’s nothing significant in it.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.