“In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11).
“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them make and female,’ and said ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5).
“Man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man” (1 Corinthians 11:8-9).
“Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman deceived fell into transgression” (1 Timothy 2:13-14).
“Through one man sin entered the world” (Romans 5:12).
The book of Genesis is foundational to understanding the rest of the Bible. Henry Morris remarked, “If the Bible were somehow expurgated of the book of Genesis… the rest of the Bible would be incomprehensible. It would be like a building without a ground floor, or a bridge with no support” (The Genesis Record, p. 17). He lists 77 important Biblical words which first appear in Genesis (ibid, p. 687). Genesis tells us of the origin of man, woman, and the home (Genesis 1 2). Genesis tells us about sin and how God views sin (Genesis 3, 6). It tells us of God’s preserving a seedline through Abram in order to bless humanity (Genesis 12:1-3).
There are common questions which are asked about the Genesis account of creation. This writing will provide concise answers to some of these common questions.
1. Is Genesis Myth?
All of the New Testament writers quote or reference the book of Genesis. There are 200 specific references to Genesis in the New Testament (for the list, see – creationstudies.org). Half of the 200 references are from Genesis 1-11, and 63 are from Genesis 1-3. All of the New Testament writers make reference to Genesis. All of the New Testament books contain allusions to Genesis except the books of Philemon, 2 John, and 3 John. Only 7 of the 50 chapters of Genesis are not quoted in the New Testament (20, 24, 34, 36, 40, 43, 44). There are 14 references to the flood in the New Testament (stats from Dave Miller, Fundamentals II Class Notes, Brown Trail School of Preaching). Not one New Testament writer presents characters or events in Genesis as myths.
The Bible presents the people as historical characters. Abel is presented as being as historically real as Zachariah (Matthew 23:35). Noah and Job are presented as being as historically real as Daniel (Ezekiel 14:14, 20). Never are the characters of Genesis depicted as myths by Biblical writers.
Certain teachings are based upon Genesis. Jesus’ teaching about marriage is grounded in creation (Matthew 19:4-6). Paul’s teaching about women’s roles is grounded in creation (1 Corinthians 11:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:13-14). Israel’s work week was based on creation (Exodus 20:9-11). There is no hint that these were taken as myths or fables.
2. Is there a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2?
Some have theorized that the heavens and the earth were created in Genesis 1:1, but that it became “without form and void” in Genesis 1:2. Moreover, it is theorized that between these verses there lived plants, animals, and even a pre-Adamic race of men. However, God destroyed all life and started over in Genesis 1:2. This theory is popular with some because, it allows for an old earth.
Some common arguments to support this view are: (a) It is argued that the term “was” could be rendered “became.” (b) It is argued that Adam and Eve were told to “replenish” the earth (Genesis 1:28 KJV). (c) God did not create the earth in “vain” (Isaiah 45:18). This is the same original word translated “without form.” (d) A distinction between “created” (bara) and “made” (asah) is made.
Let us briefly answer these arguments. (a) Should “was” be rendered “became”? Henry Morris has written, “The verb is the regular Hebrew verb of being (hayetha), not the word normally used to denote a change of state (haphak). Although hayetha can also, if the context warrants, be used to introduce a change of state, it simply means “was” in 98% of its occurrences” (The Genesis Record, p. 49). Harold Stiger has commented, “When the verb ‘to be’ (hayah) is to be constructed as ‘became,’ the addition of the prepositional lamedh is required with the following word to provide this meaning, and this preposition is absent here” (Bert Thompson and Gary Workman, p. 6). John Whitcomb remarked, “If it had to be translated ‘became,’ then we would have to say that Adam and Eve ‘became’ naked (Genesis 2:25)…” (The Early Earth, p. 146). (b) What about the word “replenish”? Henry Morris has written, “This does not suggest the idea of refilling… The Hebrew word is male, and means simply ‘fill’… of the more than three hundred times it is used, it is translated (in the KJV) by ‘replenish’ only seven times; and even these could have been rendered ‘fill'” (The Genesis Record, p. 76). The NKJV, NASB, and ESV render it ‘fill.’ The New Brown-Drivers-Briggs-Gegenius Lexicon renders it “fill.” Wayne Jackson commented, “The word, ‘replenish,’ at the time the King James Version was translated simply meant ‘fill'” (Notes From the Margin of My Bible, Vol. 1, p. 3). (c) What about Isaiah 45:18? “The immediate context… has to do with Israel and God’s promises to His people. Isaiah reminds his listeners that just as God had a purpose in creating the Earth, so He had a purpose for Israel. …God created the earth ‘to be inhabited'” (Bert Thompson, Popular Compromises of Creation – The Gap Theory). Wayne Jackson commented, “The earth was not created to remain empty; rather it was designed to be inhabited” (God’s Prophet of Doom and Deliverance; Isaiah, p. 91).
What about Genesis 1:2? John Whitcomb wrote, “It was simply empty of living things and without the features it later possessed, such as oceans, continents, hills and valleys – features that would be essential for man’s well-being” (Bert Thompson, Popular Compromises of Creation – The Gap Theory).
The words “without form” and “void” do not mean destruction. A concordance will demonstrate this point. Furthermore, John Whitcomb has written, “To be sure the only passages besides Genesis 1:2 where tohu and bohu appear together – Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23 – are placed in context which emphasize divine judgment. But even here the basic meaning of empty or uninhabited fits well” (The Early Earth, p. 148). (d) What about “created” (bara) and “made” (asah)? It is argued that God in Genesis 1:1 “created” (bara) the heavens and the earth. However, the six days refers to what he “made” (asah) (Genesis 1:31). The first word it is claimed refers to original creation, and the second to a remaking. However, such distinction is not there. The words are used interchangeably (Genesis 1:26 cf. 1:27).
The Biblical writers do not speak of a pre-Adamic human race. Adam is called “the first man” (1 Corinthians 15:45). Sin is said to have entered the world through Adam (Romans 5:12-ff).
3. Are the days of creation long periods of time?
This theory is popular with many. It allows for an old earth.
There are problems with this view. (a) A “day” is defined in context as “an evening and a morning” (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). (b) If a “day” refers to a long period of time, then what is an “evening” and a “morning”? (c) If a “day” refers to a long period of time, then what are “seasons” and “years” (Genesis 1:14)? (d) Bert Thompson has written, “Whenever the Hebrew word ‘yom’ (day – B.H.) is preceded by a numeral, it always carries the meaning of a 24-hour day” (Difficult Texts From Genesis, p. 8). The record speaks of “the first day,” “the second day,” etc. (e) Henry Morris has written, “When the words ‘days’ appears in the plural (Hebrew – yamin) as it does over 700 times in the Old Testament, it always refers to literal day” (Bert Thompson and Gary Workman, Difficult Texts From Genesis, p. 8). Exodus 20:11 reads, “in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” (f) “The Hebrew phrase translated ‘evening and morning’ is used over 100 times in the Old Testament with the word ‘yom’. Each time it refers to a literal 24-hour day” (ibid, pp. 8-9). (g) If God had intended to covey a literal day, wouldn’t He had used the language He did? (h) Jesus asked, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female'” (Matthew 19:4). Does this sound like one can fit billions of years between day one and day six? (i) Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made… so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Does this sound like man arrived billions of years after the creation of the world?
4. Could there be gaps in genealogy after creation?
It is thought by some that billions of years can be fit into gaps in genealogy. This allows them to believe in an old earth.
It is true that some of the genealogy lists do contain gaps. For example: Ezra 7:3 lists Azariah as the son of Meraioth. However, there are six descendants between them (1 Chronicles 6:7-9). Also: Matthew 1:8 lists Uzziah as the son of Joram. However, he was not the immediate son (2 Chronicles 21:1 cf. 22:1 cf. 22:11; 24:1 cf. 24:27 cf. 26:1). The later record is often abbreviated. Matthew groups his list of names into three sections of fourteen generations (Matthew 1:17). The ESV Study Bible commented, “Perhaps for ease of memorization, or perhaps for literary or symbolic symmetry, Matthew structures the genealogy to count 14 generations from each major section.”
However, this argument is weak. (a) The reason that we know of such gaps is because the Bible fills in details in other lists. This does not suggest billions of years of history unlisted anywhere in the Bible. (b) There is a great difference between gaps in names listed and gaps in chronology. For example: The Bible lists 10 generations from Adam to Noah and 1056 years (Genesis 5). Even if there were 50 generations there remains 1056 years of chronology. (c) Can you fit billions of years into 13 generations? Let me explain – How many years are there between us and Jesus? A bit over 2,000 years. How much time between Jesus and Abraham? About 2,000 years. The billions of years need to be fit into the time between Abraham and Adam. How many generations existed according to the Bible between these two men? The answer is twenty (Genesis 5 and Genesis 11). Enoch is confirmed to be the seventh from Adam (Jude 14 cf. Genesis 5). This leaves 13 generations in which to find these great gaps in genealogy into which one can insert billions of years. However, remember that there is a huge difference between gaps in genealogy and gaps in chronology! Chronologically there are 2,008 years between Adam and Abraham (this is based on Noah being 502 when Shem was born, and Terah being 130 when Abraham was born).
5. How was there light on day one (Genesis 1:3), yet the sun, moon and stars were not created until day four (Genesis 1:14-18)?
Some have suggested that the sun, moon and stars were created on day one, but were not visible upon earth until day four, due to the shroud of thick vapor. However, the words, “Let there be…” are the same words that appear throughout this chapter (1:3; 1:6; 1:14). This sound like creation.
Bert Thompson and Gary Workman have written, “On the first day God said, ‘Let there be light’ (Hebrew or) whereas on the fourth day God said, ‘Let there be lights (ma-or, light-bearers). Therefore, God’s first recorded statement created independent light without a light-bearer. And since God instructed the light-darkness cycle on that day, we must conclude that the light came from a fixed direction and that the earth rotated on its axis. In eternity there will again be light without the sun – Revelation 21:23″ (Difficult Texts From Genesis, p. 14).
There are other examples of light without the light bearing of the sun and moon. God provided a “pillar of fire” by night for the children of Israel (Exodus 13:21-22; 14:24; Numbers 14:14; Nehemiah 9:12). One day the saints will live in a city illuminated by God and the lamb, but it will not have a sun or moon.
6. What is the firmament (Genesis 1:6-8; 1:17)?
The original word (raqia) refers to an “expanse” or “something stretched, spread or beaten out” (Difficult Texts From Genesis, p. 15). The ESV reads, “an expanse.” The firmament refers to the atmosphere (Genesis 1:6-8). The firmament refers to outer space (Genesis 1:14-17). God “stretches out the heavens like a curtain” (Isaiah 40:22).
7. Why are there two different creation accounts (Genesis 1:1-2:4 and Genesis 2:4b – 2:25)?
There is a different emphasis the first present creation in a straight forward chronological order. The second puts man’s role in the created order, man’s warning from God, and the creation of the first family unit as the focus. Billy Bland has written, “One brother likened it to a ‘instant replay, isolated camera,’ where the cameraman allows the viewer to go back and see an event in greater detail” (The Memphis School of Preaching Lectureship, The Book of Genesis, p. 79. Bland is quoting Bob Winton’s outlined Commentary on Genesis).
The book of Genesis is divided into nine sections: (1) The generations of the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1-2:4). (2) The generations of Adam (Genesis 2:4b-5:1). (3) The generations of Noah (Genesis 5:1b-6:9). (4) The generations of the sons of Noah (Genesis 6:9-10:1). (5) The generations of Shem (Genesis 10:1b-11:10). (6) The generations of Terah (Genesis 11:10b-11:27). (7) The generations of Isaac (Genesis 11:27b-25:19). (8) The generations of Jacob (Genesis 25:19b-37:2). (9) The generations of the sons of Jacob (Genesis 37:2b-50:26). The focus in each section is different.
8. Isn’t there too much activity in Genesis 2:18-25 for a 24-hour day?
Eric Lyons has answered this point in an Apologetics Press article entitled, “Too Much Activity on Day Six?” In this article he makes the following points: (a) Adam did not have to search for all of the creatures. God brought them to him (Genesis 2:19). (b) Adam did not name all of the animals on earth. He named all cattle, birds of the air, and beasts of the field (Genesis 2:20). Excluded are sea creatures, and creeping things. (c) It is possible that the animals brought to him and name by him were limited to the animals which resided in Eden. God was trying to send a message to Adam. There was no helper comparable to him to be found. He was unique, and he needed a mate. (d) It does not say that he named every species of animals that now exists (for example today there are hundreds of different varieties of dogs, cats, cattle, etc.), or might have then existed. Likely, he was giving names to “kinds”.