Re: Believe it even if it isn't true theology

From: Peter Ruest <>
Date: Mon Feb 20 2006 - 15:58:44 EST

Iain Strachan wrote:
> ...
> A thought that has occurred to me recently as well is that if one interprets
> the seven days as a chronological sequence, then one has to invoke lots of
> artificial miracles (bodges) to get around the inconsistencies implied by a
> strict chronological model.

Such claims of inconsistencies are very common, unfortunately, but they usually
are based on particular models and ignore other possible models, which are just
as chronological, but don't produce the inconsistencies.

> For example, one might ask the a simple
> question about the light that was created on Day 1, three days before the
> Sun and stars were created:
> "Where does the light on day 1 shine from?"
> In order to answer this, one has to posit that God made some temporary light
> to make do before He got round to creating the sun, which then took over.
> Such an absurd notion seems to me to make a mockery of the text. What the
> text is telling us, it seems to me is that God defined the properties light
> would have.

"...darkness was over the face of the deep... 'Let there be light /'or/,' and
there was light /'or/... God saw that the light /'or/ was good. And God
separated the light /'or/ from the darkness... God called the light /'or/ Day,
and the darkness he called Night... 'Let there be lights /ma'orim/ in the
expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for
signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights /ma'orim/
in the expanse of the heavens to give light /'or {verb}/ upon the earth.' ...
God made the two great lights /ma'orim/- the greater light /ma'or/ to rule the
day and the lesser light /ma'or/ to rule the night- and the stars. And God set
them in the expanse of the heavens to give light /'or {verb}/ on the earth, to
rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light /'or/ from the
darkness." (Gen.1, passim)

Hebrew words:
- /'or/: light in general, brightness;
- /'or/ {verb}: to give light, illuminate;
- /ma'or/ (singular), /ma'orim/ (plural): light emanating from a light source,
light rays, light as what reaches the eye when looking at a light source;
- /ner/ (not used in Gen.1): light in the sense of a luminous body, light
source, lamp;
- /menorah/ (not used in Gen.1): candlestick, lamp carrier.

"God created the universe, called 'the heavens and the earth,' including time,
space, and energy... Starting with verse 2, the existence of the sun, moon and
stars is taken for granted. Now the scope narrows to the surface of the planet
Earth... The entire earth was covered by water and darkness. As the sun
already existed, the reason for the darkness appears to have been a cloud cover.
The darkness was restricted to the earth, excluding 'the heavens.'... The
earth was bombarded by planetesimals, differentiated into an iron core and a
siliceous mantle in the molten state, and collected a secondary atmosphere and
hydrosphere from volcanic outgassing and meteorite impacts. Sufficient cooling
let a global ocean condense. At a relatively high temperature, a thick cloud
of water vapor enveloping the whole earth prevented the penetration of any light
to the ocean surface... Further cooling and chemical change of the atmosphere
later permitted the sun’s light, still diffused by a permanent cloud cover, to
reach the surface, producing day and night... the /raqia^/ (expanse)... is the
relatively thin layer, the lower atmosphere formed around the earth... the
/raqia^/ between the waters as the air space between oceans and clouds. The two
were separated when the atmosphere cleared, after its temperature fell below the
dew point, generating the global water cycle... Diffuse light, penetrating the
clouds since day 1,... On day 4, celestial bodies were not created, but became
visible as 'lights.' Their origin goes back to the cosmological development
initiated 'in the beginning.' Here, the earth is in focus; 'sun' or 'moon' are
not named. Previously, light of celestial bodies had reached the earth’s
surface only in scattered form, such as on an overcast day. The text does not
say that bodies were 'affixed to the firmament,' but that God 'gave' the lights
(the light rays, _not_ their sources) 'into the /raqia^/ of the skies,' the
region which previously could not be reached by direct light. Now changed
atmospheric conditions caused the previously permanent cloud cover to break
open, so that for the first time the celestial bodies appeared as 'lights in the
sky.' Over some time, the lights were being 'prepared' /^asah/, coming through
hazily first, more clearly later. Literally, God said, 'Let it be (singular)
lights (plural)!' The single process of the atmospheric change caused the
appearance of a multitude of lights. They were to provide space and time
indications required by many organisms..." [A. Held & P. Rüst (1999), "Genesis
reconsidered", PSCF 51/4, 231-243;, passim]

> Another miracle that has to be invoked is that all the plants etc had to be
> produced from the earth in a single day. (Well, it was before day 3, so I
> guess this temporary light was pretty special in that it could produce
> accelerated growth).

Day 3, as all others, is not a 24-hour-day, but a long period. And whatever
characterizes such a creation day will naturally continue in effect throughout
the following creation days (in this sense an overlap of the "days"). New plants
are produced by the earth and evolve throughout days 3 to 7 (day 7 continuing to
the present), altogether during a billion years, as first macroscopic plants,
algae in the sunlit shore waters, were growing out of the earth, as were the
later plants on the dry earth. There was sunlight reaching the surface of the
earth, diffuse from day 1, direct from day 4. Nothing special, no accelerated
growth: no miracle required.


Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
<> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
"..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
Received on Mon Feb 20 15:59:31 2006

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