This is how I make it work.
There is not reason for me to believe that genesis 1:1 was part of the first day where he made the earth and heavens and then simply revealed them later on. It seems to clearly be a introduction statement.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
In verse three depending on the translation you use it says something like “ and God said” or “then God said”. The word in question is וַיֹּ֥אמֶר. It means God said.
So Genesis reads verses 1-2 reads as an opening statement. It’s what he did and then it was followed by how he did it.
Let’s look at some of the basics of what we know about science. Then let’s look at some of the basics of the Bible about why would he have me Said it.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 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.”
The heavens means several different things to ancient Jewish people. In a nutshell this is what they believed. There was the sky where the birds and clouds could be found at. That was the first heaven. The second heaven is what we refer to as the cosmos. The third heaven is what we refer to as where a God and angels dwelled.
Do any of us here actually believe that God is in a third heaven on the outside of our cosmos? When Elijah was taken on a chariot did he ride through the clouds, and then hit space and travel past all of the planets, stars, and galaxies and presumably traveled well past the speed of light or through some wormhole and make it to beyond the event horizon and into a kingdom outside of space? I don’t. Neither do I think that’s what’s the Hebrews were teaching either. Which heaven was created this time? All three or just one? He created a atmosphere for earth where clouds would be? Or he just created all the planets and stars? Or he made the kingdom outside of space where he lives?
Throughout Bible we refer to God as coming down. He came down to earth and ect… the reality is that scripture teaches us God is everywhere. God is not actually coming down but manifesting himself.
Then it gets to he created the earth and was above the waters? What waters? The earth was just a big ball of water that somehow was not frozen? We will cover more of that later.
It’s obvious genesis 1-2 is a introducing statement then followed by how he did it.
God said let there be light and let it separate the light in day and at night. There was light created before there was any stars. Where did this light come from? Was it warm? Was it just light coming off of God? Like God is really shiny? You could argue that. After Moses came down from God his face was glowing. In revelation it says, 21:23
“ The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”
God created a vault that he called the sky to separate the waters above and below this firmament. So that answers what heaven was created first. The sky, the first heaven. Which is a atmosphere. So a atmosphere was created before the celestial bodies. Everything was water and light at this moment. The two great bodies of water was separated by a vault called the sky. What is the vault though? Why did none of the water just freeze into ice without a sun.
Then god gathered the water to one place. I assume we all know earths land masses has looked differently. Let’s assume something like Pangea was more likely what earths land use to look like. So it would seem that the water was not gathered to one place as much as separated revealing dry land and somehow it worked out to where the land was above the water. Seems a lot like the story with the Hebrews and Egyptians where the waters separated revealing dry land. Plants also sprouted up at this time. We know that not all plants just showed up. Things like conifers were around before angiosperms ( flowering plants ). But if taken literally, we dismiss that and assume that all these plants just bursted into life at maturity on this day. Even though there was no pollinators or sun.
Then god added lights to the vault of the sky. It says he placed the lights in the vault. This is the sun, moon, stars. So finally we have the light source that we know of today and not just this precious mystical light that probably just flowed from God.
So this day, is the day, God made them second part of the heavens. The cosmos. As opposed to the first part of the heaven, the skies earlier. But what does it mean to put the sun and stars into the vault of heaven. The firmament.
Well to understand that we need to understand what they believed. They believed the vault was a dome. Not merely the atmosphere. They believed their was earth and its skies. Then above that was a solid layer called the dome and that this dome kept this giant space water from crashing down on us. They also believed that the moon had its own light. It was just like a low light sort of like our nightlights. They also believed that the stars purpose was not to light up earth, but to show the seasons and times. The ancient way people kept up with dates. They also believed that the stars and suns revolves around us. We read that in Joshua. Lastly, they believed that these lights was tiny. Really tiny.
So when we read the first few verses of the Bible from day 1-4 this is what we read if taken literally by the the worldview that the ancient sumerians and Semites ( which includes the early Jews).
The entire universe was essentially liquid. Specifically water. Humans lived on earth at the center of the universe. The sun, stars, and moon was tiny lights that revolves around us by a revolving dome called the vault. The vault kept the chaotic space waters away from earth. These water never froze prior to the sun.
We know that is not true. We know the sun is huge and that we move around it. We know space is not just dark black waters. We know above the sky is not this rotating dome that stars are stuck in as nighttime lights.
So we can think a few things.
- That worldview is correct and all our science is wrong.
- We are not understanding scripture correctly.
- It’s not true.
Now when we say it’s not true it can be broken up into many things.
A. It’s not literally true and that’s ok because Gods purpose was not to teach us science but to make it clear that he is our creator and it sets up several patterns for later on. Such as the 10 tiny creations. Those same ten tiny creations were the same, but deconstructed , as the plagues on their Egyptians. It also sets up 10 as a numerical symbol of completion and sets up the 7 days as a symbol for working for 6 and resting on the seventh. The sabbath and ect…
B. God lied to moses. God was trying to deceive Moses about how powerful he was and what he created.
C. Moses was a liar. Moses wrote the story down incorrectly either by accident or just straight up made it up. He was angry about not being king, scared because he murdered a slave driver, and so he took advantage of a plague affecting his rulers and lied to all the people using parlor tricks and convinced them that flee with him.
For me the most logical answer from both a scientific and theological position is choice 3a. Genesis first few chapters until it catches up to the real time of the people was this tale that combined truth and fiction. So it does not matter what science says in this regard. There is no contradiction of theology and science but merely a contradiction of a faulty interpretation of scripture combined with a misunderstanding of science.