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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Science and revelation being from the same God cannot be mutually opposed. But either, or both, may be misinterpreted; and there have been as many false interpretations of the book of nature as of revelation. As the Copernican theory was ultimately found not to militate against, but to harmonize with, Scripture, when the language of the latter was better understood; so no real scientific discovery ever since has been found adverse to full belief in revelation, when the latter has been better understood. The full knowledge of both has ever advanced side by side. The Bible, having not scientific but religious truth for its object, speaks in phenomenal language, which in part even the scientific have to do, as in the phrases sunrise and sunset. Creation, in the strict sense of the first origination of being out of nothing, does not come within the scope of science.

It is by the Bible alone, and through faith we understand that the worlds were framed (fitly formed) by the word of God, so that not (as, from the analogy of things reproduced from previously existing and visible materials, one naturally would suppose) out of things which appear hath that which is seen been made" ( Hebrews 11:3). No human being was witness of creation ( Job 38:4). Geology traces ages ascending backward, marked by animal and vegetable existence, less and less highly organized the further back we go; but at last comes to a point beyond which it has no light, and I must fall back on revelation and faith for information. "In the beginning God created" the world, "the heaven and the earth" ( Genesis 1:1): "In the beginning the Word WAS" ( John 1:1). Βara' , "created," used of creating (1) the universe; (2) the sea monsters whose vastness causes amazement at God's power; (3) man, in the image of God ( Genesis 1:27).

Everywhere else God "makes" ( 'Asah ), as from an already created material, the firmament, sun and stars, and the brute ( Genesis 1:7;  Genesis 1:16;  Genesis 1:25), or "forms" ( Yaatsar ) beasts out of the ground ( Genesis 2:19), and "builds up" ( Genesis 2:22 margin) the woman of the rib from man. The three verbs occur together ( Isaiah 43:7). Βara' is confined to GOD's acts; the other two verbs are used also of man's acts. Though Bara' extends to other acts of God besides the original creation, it is only in a secondary application, without reference to preexisting materials; still, except in the original creation, they are not excluded. Moreover, the contextual "in the beginning" can only mean an absolute beginning, in contrast to the previous nonexistence of the world and sole existence of the Creator.

This creation of all things out of nothing distinguishes the Bible from all pagan cosmogonies and philosophical speculations, which make matter eternal. The Creator's mode of "creating" is not revealed, but simply the fact, that it was by the putting forth of His will. Two narratives of creation, the latter ( Genesis 2:4, etc.) the supplement to the former (Genesis 1-2:), appear at the forefront as the basis of the Bible revelation. That in  Genesis 2:4, etc., evidently continues and recapitulates that in Genesis 1-2:3, in order to prepare the way for the account of paradise and man's fall. The first gives a clear summary of creation, man included, down to the sabbath rest from creation. The second concentrates attention on man. Accordingly, in the first Εlohim (from 'Alah "strong"), the name for the mighty God of creation in general, appears. In the second Jehovah ( Υahweh , the personal God in covenant relation to man, the unchanging "I AM."

To mark the identity of this personal Jehovah with the Elohim of the previous part, the two, the personal and the generic names, are joined, Jehovah-Elohim "the Lord God." The mighty Elohim who created all things is also the Jehovah, who from the days of paradise down to the days of Moses, the writer of the pentateuch, has been in personal and unchangeable covenant relation with His people. Moreover, Jehovah, being derived from hawah, the Syriac and Chaldee for the Hebrew Hayah "to be," must have come down from a time prior to the separation of the Hebrew from the Aramaeans, i.e., prior to Abraham (for Syriac was soon after quite distinct from Hebrew,  Genesis 31:47). The accounts of creation and of the construction of the tabernacle resemble each other (the world being God's great tabernacle, Psalm 19); the general plan first (Genesis 1), then the actual creation of the first pair, Eden, etc., next.

Scripture's design being to unfold redemption, only so much of the natural world is set forth as is needed for that design. Genesis 1 is not so much a full narrative of details as a revelation of the scheme in the Creator's mind, the archetype of the actual ( Genesis 2:4-5; Gesenius, Targum, and Syriac). "Now no plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprouted forth, for the Lord God had not caused it to ram," etc. The earth already had brought forth grass ( Genesis 1:11); but no cultivated land and no vegetables fit for man's use existed yet; "plant," "field," "grew," do not occur in Genesis 1. In the pattern of the tabernacle shown on the mount the description begins with the furniture of the tabernacle, then goes on to the priests, and ends with the sabbatical law. So, in creation, the process begins with the lower creatures, plants, and animals, then, man, creation's priest, Eden, and lastly the sabbath.

 Genesis 1:1 teaches the religious truth needed for a right knowledge of God, that the world is not eternal, that God created it in the beginning; when that beginning was it does not state. But the high antiquity of the earth is expressly taught in  Psalms 90:2, where God's formation of "the earth" in general is distinguished from that of "the (Hebrew Tebel ) habitable world," Greek Oikoumenee ( Psalms 102:25;  Proverbs 8:22). Geology shows that creation occupied immense ages, but that man's creation was its closing act and at a comparatively recent date. Two views are held as to Genesis 1: The one that between Gen.1:1 and Gen.1:2 intervened the vast geological periods, and that these are undescribed in Genesis 1; and that  Genesis 1:2 describes the chaotic state which succeeded the last geological period before the earth's preparation for man; and that the description of the six days refers to this preparation.

If the seventh day sabbath in  Genesis 2:2 be an ordinary day, then the six days must be ordinary days and this view is favored. But geology seems to oppose any such state of the earth intervening between the preceding age and that of man's creation as could be described as" without form (desolate) and void." No universal convulsion (IF these words are to be pressed literally) separates the present orders of life from those preceding. No one series of stratified rocks is void of traces of life. Thus, we seem led to the conclusion (2) that the stage in the earth's progress when it became surrounded with chaotic waters (how long after "the beginning" we know not), described in  Genesis 1:2, is that which existed before the arrangement of its surface took place. (But see below.) The sabbath of God is described in Hebrew 3-4, as not yet ended; it will last until He who sitteth on the throne shall say, "Behold I make all things new."

God's creating this dark and desolate state of the earth was not in vain, but that in due time it might be "inhabited" ( Isaiah 45:18). It was no "fortuitous concourse of atoms," or "laws of nature" acting independently of the continually active divine will of their Author. "The Spirit of God" as the Giver of life "brooded ('moved') upon the waters." Then began organic life, at first in the lower types. Sir W. Jones (Asiatic Researches) states that the Indian philosophers similarly believed (doubtless from the primitive tradition) that water was the first element and work of the creative power. "The waters are called Nara, since they are the offspring of Nera or Iwara, and thence was Narayana named, because His first moving was upon them. That Which Is (the exact meaning of the I AM or JEHOVAH), the invisible Cause eternal, self-existing, but unperceived, is Brahma."

This address of Menu, Brahma's son, to the sages who consulted him concerning the formation of the world, evidently corresponds with the revelation in Genesis. Then God said "Let there be light," and there was light. Light was first in a diffused state. It is not a separate, distinct body in itself, but caused by undulations of ether propagated through space with inconceivable rapidity. Hence it is not said God created, but God commanded it to be. Scientifically the Bible distinguishes between "light" ( 'Or ),  Genesis 1:3-5, and the light hearing "luminaries" ( Me'Orot ),  Genesis 1:14-18. Much of the preexisting light diffused through space on the fourth day gathered round the sun's body (compare  Job 38:19). Still, through the incandescent photosphere that enwraps the sun we catch glimpses of the orb itself by the spots visible on it.

"Day" is used often for a long period, with a beginning and' close, like morning and evening ( Genesis 49:27;  Deuteronomy 33:12). As the prophetic "days" at the close ( Daniel 12:11-12), so the historical "days" at the beginning of the Bible seem to be not literal but "days of the Lord"; compare  Psalms 90:4, "a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday," and  2 Peter 3:8, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day." Psalm 104 is an inspired commentary on the history of creation in Genesis 1; compare the account in  Psalms 104:8;  Proverbs 8:25-28, of the upheaval of mountains from beneath the waters and depression of valleys, whereby land was severed from sea; just as we still find traces (sea shells, etc.) of their former submersion on the highest mountains.

The special phrase in the Hebrew for the first day, "one day". [Or "Day One"] marks it as a day unique, just as the day that shall usher in the millennium is called" one (extraordinary and unique) day" ( Zechariah 14:7). The seventh day is not described as the previous six, "it was evening, it was morning," because the Lord's sabbath extends over the whole present order of things, eventuating in the "sabbath rest that remaineth for the people of God" ( Hebrews 4:9 margin). The Creator entered into the sabbath rest when He ceased from material creation, to carry on the new and spiritual creation in man ( 2 Corinthians 5:17;  Hebrews 4:10). Yet God's sabbath is not an idle one: "My Father worketh hitherto," namely, upholding all creation. Compare Jesus' "day" ( John 9:4;  John 5:17); man's present short-day-sabbath is a type of God's and the saints' saboatism.

The proportion of the seventh day to the previous six, of whatever length it and they be, is the ground of our seventh-day sabbath. For the "firmament" ( Genesis 1:6) translated "the (air) expanse," or sky overhead which supports the clouds or" waters above the heavens." Air, involved in the creation of the expanse, was the second necessity after light. Light was needed for the crystallization of inorganic forms and the molecular arrangement of the mineral matter of rocks. Light and air are needed for even the lowest types of life. Hugh Miller identifies the first day's work with the azoic period; the second day with the silurian or palaeozoic; the third day with the carboniferous; the fourth day with the permian and triassic; the fifth day with the oolitic or cretaceous, the period when, the air and the waters having been previously prepared, the waters brought forth in swarms insects, fish, and monstrous reptiles of sea and land, and fowl flew in the air; the sixth day with the tertiary, which saw first the higher animals, the land Mammalia , and lastly MAN.

Plants appear before animals in Genesis 1. Geology does not directly as yet confirm this; but it may hereafter; the cellular structure of the earlier plants was not favorable to their preservation. Moreover, dependent as animals are on vegetation, it must have preceded them. Traces of life are found in the laurentian and certainly in the cambrian strata, the former the oldest rocks, whereas animal creation seemingly does not appear until the fifth day in  Genesis 1:20-22. But "fish" ( Dag ) is omitted in the fifth day; an omission the more remarkable, as "fish" occurs ( Genesis 1:26;  Genesis 1:28) as among the animals over which God gave man dominion. The creation of fish long previously is therefore assumed, not stated. The Tannin , from Tanan "to stretch, and Romesheth , from Raamas "to trample" ("whales" and" every living creature that moveth,"  Genesis 1:21), answer to the saurians and allied reptiles occurring in the rocks precisely at the point assigned them by Moses.

The narrative in Genesis does not assert simultaneous creation of all the plants on the third day, and of reptiles and birds on the fifth, and of mammals on the sixth day; the divine command and its fulfillment are narrated as distinct. What Moses narrates is, not the first appearance of each class, but the time when each came into remarkable development and prominence. The simplicity and brevity of the narrative exclude the noting of the creation of the primeval types which passed out of existence ages before man appeared. God ordered His own work on a system of law, and from time to time supplied new forces, or gave new directions to existing forces; not that He changed His design, or found His original plan defective. He contemplated the interference from the first, but did not introduce them until their time was come. In the theory of the correlation of forces, electricity, galvanism, chemical action, gravitation, light and heat, are various manifestations of the same thing, called force or energy.

Light is not a material substance, but a mode of motion, undulations of ether propagated with inconceivable velocity. Accurately Moses writes, not God made light, but said on the first day Let light be. But why at the first, before organisms needing light existed? Because, to call forth light was to call into action Force in its various manifestations. Matter and force are the two elements out of which visible creation is formed. Matter was already made, but it remained chaotic ( Genesis 1:2) until force in the form of "light" was evolved. Then gravitation would begin, light and heat would permeate the mass, elementary substances which chemistry reveals would be developed, and the whole would move toward the center of gravity. The great nebula of Orion illustrates the state of the solar system when light first appeared.

God's dividing the light from the darkness, and calling the light Day and the darkness Night, is the Mosaic phrase which marks His communicating rotatory motion to the mass, so that the earth revolved on its axis, from whence now results the division of day and night; a result however not then ensuing until the sun concentrated the diffused light in itself on the fourth day, when accordingly again the division of day and night is mentioned. Laplace's nebular hypothesis is possible only by supplying what revelation supplies, namely, God's interposition to impart force and rotation to matter. The nebulae in Orion and Argo represent the state of our system on the first appearance of light; there are changes passing over nebulae, some in the purely gaseous stage, others (as the nebula Draco) in transition, others in incipient central condensation.

The 118 Andromeda nebula assumes a lenticular form resulting from rapid rotation, the mass being ready to break up into separate worlds. All the motions of the bodies of our solar system are from W. to E., proving that their motions have a common origin, all at one time existing as a single mass revolving in the same direction. Uranus' satellites alone on the outer verge of our system retrograde, having been acted upon by some disturbing force. Bode's law of planetary distances ceases beyond Uranus, and does not hold good in Neptune. The figure of the earth is that naturally assumed by a plastic mass revolving about its axis; also its traces of intense heat accord with the nebular theory as modified by revelation; also the sun's state as a nebulous star which has not yet gathered up the whole of the original nebula.

At the beginning of THE Second Day the earth had become separated from the gradually condensing mass of the solar system, and formed into a sphere. The "waters" mean the fluid mass of what afterward was divided into solid, fluid, and gas. The sorting of them was the work of the second day. Hydrogen and nitrogen in an incandescent state compose mainly many nebulae, as the spectroscope shows. God's introduction of Oxygen into active operation produced air and water in our earth, which before the second day had consisted of a fused heterogeneous mass. Almost half of the earth's crust consists of oxygen, which enters into the composition of every rock and metallic ore. Chemical action therefore must have been most intense during the whole second day. By it the waters above the firmament were separated from that molten mass under the firmament which subsequently consolidated into rocks and ores.

Probably all the water, strictly so-called, floated above, in the condition in which Jupiter now appears. His apparent surface is crossed by alternating belts of light and shade, due to vast masses of steam ejected forcibly from the body of the fiery planet. His atmosphere being of vast depth (7,850 miles), the rotatory velocity of its upper portions is much greater than that of the planet's surface; hence the steam arranges itself in belts parallel to its equator. The eight greater planets are divided into two groups of four by the intervening belt of minor planets. The two groups differ much; but the members of each differ little in density, size, and length of day; the moon is the only satellite of the inner group; the outer has 17 satellites. The steam of the earth floating at the second day's commencement would soon lose its heat by radiation into space, and would descend to the surface as rain.

So the nucleus would gradually cool, and solids be formed, as granite, from the heat, moisture, and enormous pressure; and the globe internally molten would have a solid crust, covered all round with water, and surrounded by an atmosphere denser and more complex and extensive than now. The laurentian is the earliest sedimentary rock, 200,000 square miles N. of the Lawrence; the lower laurentian has been displaced from its original horizontal position before the upper was deposited above it. At this point is the first trace of upheaval and subsidence; here the Creator's interposition is marked, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear," the first work of THE Third Day

The first appearance of life is not noted in Genesis In the laurentian rock the first traces of life appear, a lowly organization akin to the foraminifera, the individuals being connected together as in varieties of coral. In the cambrian, the next rocks, ripple marks occur showing that those rocks (the Harlech grit) formed a sea beach. The silurian, deposited in the bed of a sea, and the old red sandstone, afresh water formation, come next. Then the carboniferous, with the coal measures above, testifying to an uniformly high temperature (since coal is found in far N. latitudes), a moist atmosphere, and an enormous terrestrial vegetation. This answers to God's command on the third day, "Let the earth sprout sprouts ('the herb seeding seed,'" and the fruit trees yielding fruit, etc. The majority of the vegetation then was cryptogamous, having only spores which only contain the germ; but seeds contain the germ and nourishment for it.

No traces of grasses are found. The first of the three classes in God's words is the cryptogamous or seedless, the other are seedbearers. Not the first beginnings, but the extraordinary development, of vegetable life is here marked. The cryptogams thrive best in an atmosphere such as then existed, in which light was diffused rather than concentrated in the sun, and in which the atmosphere was full of moisture. They absorbed and decomposed the excess of carbonic acid, and so purified the atmosphere. The great heat was derived from other sources than the sun, perhaps from the interior of the earth.

On THE Fourth Day the concentration of light and heat in the sun was so far completed that he became the luminary of the system which heretofore had derived its light and heat from other sources; possibly the light now in the sun had existed as a nebulous ring warming the planets within it, as the nebula ring in Lyra; or as diffused luminous matter, filling a space which included the earth's orbit. The system's light is not even yet wholly concentrated into the sun, but a vast chromosphere or ring of light surrounds his disc. Enormous volumes of hydrogen are ejected from it, and rotate on their axis as a cyclone.

A corona, like the nebula in 4,373, extends beyond the chromosphere, reaching from 400,000 to 1,800,000 miles beyond the sun; besides gaseous hydrogen the corona contains solid or fluid particles giving a spectrum with dark lines indicating matter capable of reflecting light. The zodiacal light is thought to be a faint extension of the corona. The fourth day work was the concentration of light into the sun, "God made two luminaries" (light bearers, marking the distinction between them and light itself). The permian and triassic rocks, of which the magnesian limestone and the new red sandstone are chief representatives in England, answer to the fourth day. The earliest saurian fossils occur in very small numbers, and the first traces of mammalia, namely, small marsupials. Old forms pass away, and the barrenness of new forms of life answers to the Mosaic silence as to new forms of life on the fourth day. The great-sized saurians characterize the lias and oolite and chalk, answering exactly to Moses' account of THE Fifth Day

The Mammalia , the Rodentia , and Mustelidae , predominating in the tertiary period, answer to Moses' account of THE Sixth Day However, in favor of the six days being ordinary days, D'Orbigny maintains that a gulf of darkness and death must have intervened between the tertiary strata and our present fauna and flora; for that not a single species, vegetable or animal, is common to the tertiary and the human periods. Dr. Pusey (Daniel, preface, 19) thinks that the condition of the earth "without form and void" was such as God, who made all things "very good," never created ( Genesis 1:2); then for an undefined period ( Genesis 1:3) "the Spirit of God was brooding (Hebrew) upon the face of the waters" of the dark and disordered "deep." Then followed successive action in God's remodeling the earth for man's habitation. Possibly the order of Creation of the whole world in six vast periods, called "days," was repeated in six literal days in preparing the earth for man, its noblest occupant, "the minister and interpreter of nature" (Bacon).

Natural selection, and sexual selection, the causes conjectured lately as accounting for change of species, are inadequate; for in each individual the concurrence of many contingent causes through ages is needed for producing the result. The probabilities against this concurrence in any one case are enormous, and in a large number of cases are out of the question. Such causes do not account for the development of a new organ, as mammary glands; or for the case of man, in whom intellectual superiority is accompanied by loss of physical power. No one case is known of natural or sexual selection altering species, and man's molding of breeds to his mind has never been carried beyond narrow limits. The plan of creation is progressive development modified by continual superintendence and occasional interpositions of the Creator, just at the points where they were required to make the theory of Darwin possible.

God's "breathing into man the breath of lives" marks that while his body is allied to lower animals his moral and intellectual qualities come directly from above. The facts of observation confirm Genesis, and prove that these never could have been developed by natural or sexual selection, or the struggle for life out of lower organizations. Man's moral and intellectual superiority, while he is physically inferior, distinguishes his creation from that of all below him. (Condensed from Ackland's Story of Creation.) Unless one abnormal variety in a species furnished both a male and a female of the new kind, the new species would cease. Even if both were produced simultaneously, unless intermixture with the original species were secured, hybrids would result, and these do not propagate. No trace in all the strata of geology occurs of intermediate links between species.

Cuvier's principle of final causes and conditions of existence requires the coordination of each being so as to render the total possible. Every organized being has an entire system of its own, all the parts of which mutually correspond and combine by reciprocal action to the same end; no one can change in one part without a corresponding change in its other members. Thus, if the viscera be fitted only for digesting recent fish, the jaws must be constructed for devouring, the claws for seizing and tearing prey, the teeth for dividing its flesh, the limbs for pursuing and overtaking it, the organs of sense for discovering it far off, and the brain for such instincts as will enable it to plot for its prey. The Assyrian tradition of creation, discovered by G. Smith, agrees with the Bible rather than with Berosus.

The fall of an evil angel is described; the creation by the gods out of chaos (over which a goddess Tisglat, the Greek Thalassa , "sea," presides) in successive stages; its being pronounced good by the gods; its culmination in the creation of man with the faculty of speech; man's original innocence, temptation, fall, and curse. There is however an elaborate lengthening of details (e.g. the deity's long address to the newly-created man on his duties, privileges, and glory), and an introduction of gods many, which contrasts with the sublime simplicity and divine brevity of the inspired record. The Bible account of the primeval tradition, in its reticence of all details save what subserve the end s of a moral and spiritual revelation, is just what man would never have given except by inspiration. The Assyrian account is uninspired man's expansion and dilution of the original history; at the same time confirming remarkably the true story. The general harmony in the, order of plants, animals, and man, between Scripture and science is strikingly confirmatory of revelation. Geology and Scripture agree:

(1) that the material world had a "beginning" the flora and fauna advancing progressively from the less perfect to the more perfect. The Greeks and Latins mark the orderly formation of the universe by expressing "order" and "world" by the same term, Kosmos , Mundus . Furthermore, revelation states the scientific truth that God "hangeth the earth upon nothing" ( Job 26:7). The mention of the northern hemisphere here, and the southern hemisphere ( Job 9:9), "the chambers of the S.," hints plainly at the globular form of the earth;

(2) that fire ("light") and water were two great agents of the mighty changes on the earth ( Genesis 1:3;  Genesis 1:9;  Psalms 104:2-3;  Psalms 104:6-9); the connection of light and heat is admitted, the sun's light being now known to come from its photosphere of incandescent hydrogen;

(3) that continents were formed under the ocean ( Genesis 1:9-10;  Psalms 104:6-9;  Psalms 24:2, "He founded it above (not upon) the seas";  Psalms 136:6);

(4) that creation was not sudden, but progressive;

(5) that man was the last created (no fossil remains of man are found), that his appearance is comparatively recent.

Man is the crowning apex of creation; all the previous steps described are preparations for, and so silent prophecies of, his advent. Man is the summary of all preceding organizations; hence his brain in the embryo passes through the successive types of the fish's, reptile's, and mammal's brain. Geology gives no support to the theory that every species grew out of some species less perfect, the lower animal developing into the higher, the stronger surviving the weaker in the struggle for existence, and by the law of "natural selection" assuming those members which it needed for its development. There is no unbroken chain of continuity. New forms appear on the stage of life, having no close affinity to the old. The marvelous instinct of the working bee has not grown by cultivation and successive inheritance. It does not inherit its cell building or honey making power from its parents; for the drone and queen bee do neither.

It does not transmit it to its offspring, for it has none. Man degenerates indeed to an almost brutish state. But, as such, the race becomes enfeebled and dies out; whereas the domesticated animal which reverts to the wild state becomes stronger and more fruitful. This proves that the wild state is natural to the brutes, the civilized to man. Civilization never conics to savages from themselves, but from without; almost all barbarous races have traditions of having sprung from ancestors more powerful and enlightened than themselves. Man retains in a rudimentary form certain muscles and organs which are fully developed in the quadrumana (apes, etc.); the tail is a remarkable instance. But man's development has taken the form most disadvantageous (in the Darwinian view) in the struggle of life. His body unclothed, slowness of foot, lack of power in teeth, hands, and feet compared with many brutes, bluntness of smell and sight, put him at an immense disadvantage in the struggle for life.

"Man must have had human proportions of mind before he could afford to lose bestial proportions of body" (Duke of Argyll, Good Words, April 1868). Specific centers for the creation of many animals and plants are generally now supposed, since each species is confined to a certain habitat. Probably, those specific centers which are very far from man's primitive home were the scene of the creation of animals going on during the six days, simultaneously with the creation of the animals in the region of Adam's paradise. No clear proof of pre-Adamite man exists. If such yet be found, no physiological reason can forbid the Scripture view that God, after having formed the body of Adam on the highest type of human form," breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," so that man thenceforward "became a living soul;" thus he is distinct from the brute, of which it is not said that God so breathed into them, but only that they have body and "living soul" ( Genesis 1:20-21); man, besides "body and soul," has "spirit" ( 1 Thessalonians 5:23;  Ecclesiastes 3:21).

The unity of the human species is a fundamental principle of the Bible scheme of redemption ( Deuteronomy 32:8;  Matthew 19:4;  Acts 17:26;  Romans 5:14;  Romans 5:19;  1 Corinthians 15:22). The differences of races, though hard to explain on the supposition of their unity, are not so hard as it is to account, on the opposite theory, for the close affinities, physical, intellectual, and moral, of all the human family. The germs of various characteristics were doubtless originally implanted in man by the Creator, to be manifested as the race progressed, in order to diffuse man over the earth of which he was the appointed lord under God ( Genesis 1:28). The subsequent confusion of tongues at (See Babel was not at random, but a systematic distribution of languages in connection with corresponding varieties of characteristics, for the purpose of a systematic distribution of the human race, as  Genesis 10:5;  Genesis 10:20;  Genesis 10:31 proves.

The several varieties of race are gradually shaded off from one another, so that there is no alternative between the extremely improbable theory of eleven distinct species (!) and the Bible statement of only one. All men have reason and articulate speech; general words used by all prove in all the power of abstract reasoning; the absence of the former proves the absence of the latter, in beasts. All have the sense of responsibility to unseen powers; all are capable of being Christianized and civilized. All are reducible to one original ideal type, to which the Indo European comes nearest. The cubic contents of the skull of the lowest savage is 82 inches; the highest is 94; the gorilla is only 30.

Man alone walks erect; the negro's skull, unlike the ape's, is as perfectly balanced on the vertebral column as the European's skull. The lowest savage has more brain than he needs for the few wants of his crude life. Man brought death upon himself by sin ( Romans 5:12;  1 Corinthians 15:21;  Genesis 2:17;  Genesis 3:19). But he did not entail death on the animal world according to any scripture; and geology proves the death of whole races of animals before man. That the lower creaturely world has a connection with man in its common present subjection to "vanity" (i.e. failure as yet of their designed end), and its future emancipation into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, appears from  Romans 8:18-28. Man's fall is only a segment of a wider circle of evil which began with Satan and his angels' previous fall.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [2]

in its primary import, signifies the bringing into being something which did not exist before. The term is therefore most generally applied to the original production of the materials whereof the visible world is composed. It is also used in a secondary or subordinate sense, to denote those subsequent operations of the Deity upon the matter so produced, by which the whole system of nature, and all the primitive genera of things, received their forms, qualities, and laws. The accounts of the creation of the world which have existed among different nations, are called Cosmogonies. Moses's is unquestionably the most ancient; and had it no other circumstance to recommend it, its superior antiquity alone would give it a just claim to our attention. It is evidently Moses's intention to give a history of man, and of religion, and an account of creation. In the way in which he has detailed it, it would have been foreign to his plan, had it not been necessary to obviate that most ancient and most natural species of idolatry, the worship of the heavenly bodies. His first care, therefore, is to affirm decidedly, that God created the heavens and the earth; and then he proceeds to mention the order in which the various objects of creation were called into existence. First of all, the materials, of which the future universe was to be composed, were created. These were jumbled together in one indigested mass, which the ancients called chaos, and which they conceived to be eternal; but which Moses affirms to have been created by the power of God. The materials of the chaos were either held in solution by the waters, or floated in them, or were sunk under them; and they were reduced into form by the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters. Light was the first distinct object of creation; fishes were the first living things; man was last in the order of creation.

2. The account given by Moses is distinguished by its simplicity. That it involves difficulties which our faculties cannot comprehend, is only what might be expected from a detail of the operations of the omnipotent mind, which can never be fully understood but by the Being who planned them. Most of the writers who come nearest to Moses in point of antiquity have favoured the world with cosmogonies; and there is a wonderful coincidence in some leading particulars between their accounts and his.

They all have his chaos; and they all state water to have been the prevailing principle before the arrangement of the universe began. The systems became gradually more complicated, as the writers receded farther from the age of primitive tradition; and they increased in absurdity in proportion to the degree of philosophy which was applied to the subject. The problem of creation has been said to be, "Matter and motion being given, to form a world;" and the presumption of man has often led him to attempt the solution of this intricate question. But the true problem was, "Neither matter nor motion being given, to form a world." At first, the cosmogonists contented themselves with reasoning on the traditional or historical accounts they had received; but it is irksome to be shackled by authority; and after they had acquired a smattering of knowledge, they began to think that they could point out a much better way of forming the world than that which had been transmitted to them by the consenting voice of antiquity. Epicurus was most distinguished in this hopeful work of invention; and produced a cosmogony on the principle of a fortuitous concourse of atoms, whose extravagant absurdity has hitherto preserved it from oblivion. From his day to ours, the world has been annoyed with systems; but these are now modified by the theories of chemists and geologists, whose speculations, in so far as they proceed on the principle of induction, have sometimes been attended with useful results; but, when applied to solve the problem of creation, will serve, like the systems of their forerunners, to demonstrate the ignorance and the presumption of man.

3. The early cosmogonies are chiefly interesting from their resemblance to that of Moses; which proves that they have either been derived from him, or from some ancient prevailing tradition respecting the true history of creation. The most ancient author next to Moses, of whose writings any fragments remain, is Sanchoniatho, the Phenician. His writings were translated by Philo Byblius; and portions of this version are preserved by Eusebius. These writings come to us rather in an apocryphal form; they contain, however, no internal evidence which can affect their authenticity; they pretty nearly resemble the traditions of the Greeks, and are, perhaps, the parent stock from which these traditions are derived. The notions detailed by Sanchoniatho are almost translated by Hesiod, who mentions the primeval chaos, and states ερος , or love, to be its first offspring. Anaxagoras was the first among the Greeks who entertained tolerably accurate notions on the subject of creation: he assumed the agency of an intelligent mind in the arrangement of the chaotic materials. These sentiments gradually prevailed among the Greeks; from whom they passed to the Romans, and were generally adopted, notwithstanding the efforts which were made to establish the doctrines of Epicurus by the nervous poetry of Lucretius. Ovid has collected the orthodox doctrines which prevailed on the subject, both among Greeks and Romans; and has expressed them with uncommon elegance and perspicuity in the first chapter of his "Metamorphoses." There is so striking a coincidence between his account and that of Moses that one would almost think that he was translating from the first chapter of Genesis; and there can be no doubt that the Mosaic writings were well known at that time, both among the Greeks and Romans. Megasthenes, who lived in the time of Seleucus Nicanor, affirms, that all the doctrines of the Greeks respecting the creation, and the constitution of nature, were current among the Bramins in India, and the Jews in Syria. He must, of course, have been acquainted with the writings of the latter, before he could make the comparison. Juvenal talks of the writings of Moses as well known:—

Tradidit arcano quodcunque volumine Moses. [Whatever Moses has transmitted in his mystic volume.]

We are therefore inclined to think that Ovid actually copied from the Bible; for he adopts the very order detailed by Moses. Moses mentions the works of creation in the following order: the separation of the sea from the dry land; the creation of the heavenly bodies; of marine animals; of fowls and land animals; of man. Observe now the order of the Roman poet:—

Ante mare et terras, et, quod tegit omnia, coelum, Unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,

Quem dixere chaos, rudis, indiffestaque moles. Hanc Deus, et melior litem natura diremit. Nam coelo terras, et terras abscidit undis;

Et liquidum spisso secrevit ab aere coelum. Neu regio foret ulla suis animalibus orba;

Astra tenent coeleste solum, formaeque deorum; Cesserunt nitidis habitandae piscibus undae: Terra feras cepit, volucres agitabilis aer. Sanctius his animal, mentisque capacius altae

Deerat adhuc, et quod dominari in caetera posset: Natus homo est.

"Before the seas, and this terrestrial ball, And heav'n's high canopy, that covers all, One was the face of nature; if a face: Rather, a rude and indigested mass:

A lifeless lump, unfashion'd, and unframed, Of jarring seeds; and justly chaos named. But God, or nature, while they thus contend, To these intestine discords put an end;

Then earth from air, and seas from earth were driv'n,

And grosser air sunk from ethereal heav'n.

Thus when the God, whatever god was he, Had formed the whole, and made the parts agree,

That no unequal portions might be found,

He moulded earth into a spacious round.

Then, every void of nature to supply, With forms of gods he fills the vacant sky:

New herds of beasts he sends, the plains to share:

New colonies of birds, to people air; And to their oozy beds the finny fish repair.

A creature of a more exalted kind

Was wanting yet, and then was man design'd:

Conscious of thought, of more capacious breast, For empire formed, and fit to rule the rest: Whether with particles of heav'nly fire

The God of nature did his soul inspire," &c.


Here we see all the principal objects of creation mentioned exactly in the same order which Moses had assigned to them in his writings; and when we consider what follows;—the war of the giants; the general corruption of the world; the universal deluge; the preservation of Deucalion and Pyrrha; their sacrifices to the gods on leaving the vessel in which they had been preserved;—there can scarcely remain a doubt that Ovid borrowed, either directly or at second hand, from Moses. What he says, too, is perfectly consistent with the received notions on the subject, though it is probable that they had never before been so regularly methodised. This train of reasoning would lead us to conclude that Ovid, and indeed the whole Heathen world, derived their notions respecting the creation, and the early history of mankind, from the sacred Scriptures: and it shows how deficient their own resources were, when the pride of philosophy was forced to borrow from those whom it affected to despise. With regard to the western mythologists, then, there can be little doubt that their cosmogonies, at least such of them as profess to be historical, and not theoretical, are derived from Moses; and the same may be affirmed with regard to the traditions of the east: as they were the same with those of Greece in the time of Megasthenes, whose testimony to this effect is quoted both by Clemens Alexandrinus and Strabo, we may naturally conclude that they had the same origin.

4. The Hindoo mythology has grown, in the natural uninterrupted progress of corruption, to such monstrous and complicated absurdity, that in many cases it stands unique in extravagance. In the more ancient Hindoo writings, however, many sublime sentiments occur; and in the "Institutes of Menu," many passages are found relating to the creation, which bear a strong resemblance to the account given by Moses. They are thus given in an advertisement, prefixed to the fifth volume of the "Asiatic Researches," and are intended as a supplement to a former treatise on the Hindoo religion:—

"This universe existed only in the first divine idea, yet unexpanded, as if involved in darkness, imperceptible, undefinable, undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in sleep. When the sole self-existing Power, himself undiscerned, but making this world discernible, with five elements and other principles of nature, appeared with undiminished glory, expanding his idea, or dispelling the gloom. He, whom the mind alone can perceive, whose essence eludes the

external organs, who has no visible parts, who exists from eternity, even he, the soul of all beings, whom no being can comprehend, shone forth in person. He, having willed to produce various beings from his own divine substance, first with a thought created the waters. The waters are called nara, because they are the production of Nara, or the Spirit of God; and since they were his first ayana,

or place of motion, he thence is called Narayana, or moving on the waters. From that which is, the first cause, not the object of sense, existing every where in substance, not existing to our perception, without beginning or end, was produced the divine male. He

framed the heaven above, and the earth beneath; in the midst he placed the subtile ether, the eight regions, and the permanent

receptacle of waters. He framed all creatures. He, too, first assigned to all creatures distinct names, distinct acts, and distinct occupations. He gave being to time, and the divisions of time; to the stars also, and the planets; to rivers, oceans, and mountains; to level plains, and uneven valleys. For the sake of distinguishing actions, he made a total difference between right and wrong. Having divided his own substance, the mighty Power became half male, half female. He whose powers are incomprehensible, having

created this universe, was again absorbed in the spirit, changing the time of energy for the time of repose."

In these passages we have evidently a philosophical comment on the account of creation given by Moses, or as transmitted from the same source of primitive tradition. We also see in these passages the rudiments of the Platonic philosophy, the eternal ideas in the divine mind, &c; and were any question to arise respecting the original author of these notions, we should have little hesitation in giving it against the Greeks. They were the greatest plagiaries both in literature and philosophy, and they have scarcely an article of literary property which they can call their own, except their poetry. Their sages penetrated into Egypt and India, and on their return stigmatized the natives of these countries as barbarians, lest they should be suspected of stealing their inventions.

5. The Chaldean cosmogony, according to Berosus, when divested of allegory, seems to resolve itself into this, that darkness and water existed from eternity; that Belus divided the humid mass, and gave birth to creation; that the human mind is an emanation from the divine nature. The cosmogony of the ancient Persians is very clumsy. They introduce two eternal principles, the one good, called Oromasdes, the other evil, called Arimanius; and they make these two principles contend with each other in the creation and government of the world. Each has his province, which he strives to enlarge; and Mithras is the mediator to moderate their contentions. This is the most inartificial plan that has been devised to account for the existence of evil, and has the least pretensions to a philosophical basis. The Egyptian cosmogony, according to the account given of it by Plutarch, seems to bear a strong resemblance to the Phenician, as detailed by Sanchoniatho. According to the Egyptian account, there was an eternal chaos, and an eternal spirit united with it, whose agency at last arranged the discordant materials, and produced the visible system of the universe. The cosmogony of the northern nations, as may be collected from the Edda, supposes an eternal principle prior to the formation of the world. The Orphic Fragments state every thing to have existed in God, and to proceed from him. The notion implied in this maxim is suspected to be pantheistic, that is, to imply the universe to be God; which, however, might be a more modern perversion. Plato supposed the world to be produced by the Deity, uniting eternal, immutable ideas, or forms, to variable matter. Aristotle had no cosmogony, because he supposed the world to be without beginning and without end. According to the Stoical doctrine, the divine nature, acting on matter, first produced moisture, and then the other elements, which are reciprocally convertible.

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

Creation accounts in the Bible never function simply to satisfy a childlike curiosity to know “how it all began.” The biblical writers' concern with God as Creator grew out of their knowledge of Him as Redeemer.  Genesis 1-11 serves as prologue to God's redemptive purpose in calling Abram (  Genesis 12:1-3 ). Similarly, in  Isaiah 40:1 concern with God as Creator is in a larger context of concern with God as Redeemer from Babylonian captivity.

Important questions about creation include the following:

1. Where in the Bible is the subject of creation encountered?

2. What is the function of biblical references to creation?

3. What literature contemporary with the Bible contains references to creation?

4. How are biblical and extra-biblical references to creation related?

5. What cosmology is reflected in the Bible?

6. What is the time frame of creation in the Bible?

7. What is humanity's place in creation?

8. How is the New Testament concept of the new creation in Christ related to the biblical concept of physical creation?

Biblical References to Creation Probably the best known reference to creation in the Bible is  Genesis 1:1-2:4 . That certainly is not the only place in Scripture where the subject is treated. Psalmists mentioned creation or the Creator frequently ( Psalm 8:3-4;  Psalm 74:17;  Psalm 95:5;  Psalm 100:3;  Psalm 104:24 ,Psalms 104:24, 104:30;  Psalm 118:24;  Psalm 40:5;  Psalm 51:10;  Psalm 64:9;  Psalm 24:1-2;  Psalm 102:25;  Psalm 145:10 ). The second half of Isaiah ( Psalm 40-66 ) has four direct references to creation ( Isaiah 40:28;  Isaiah 43:7 ,  Isaiah 43:15;  Isaiah 45:7;  Isaiah 65:17 ). Job alluded to creation in two speeches ( Job 10:8;  Job 26:7 ), and God's answer to Job contains one reference to the subject ( Job 38:4 ).

The New Testament reveals that Jesus “made” all things ( John 1:3 ) and that “all things were created by him, and for him” ( Colossians 1:16 ). Paul's assertion recorded in  Ephesians 3:9 is that God “created all things.” The writer of Hebrews notes that Jesus was the agent God used to create the world (  Hebrews 1:2 ). Because God created all things, He is worthy of “glory and honor and power” ( Revelation 4:11 ). Luke testified that the living God “made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” ( Acts 14:15 ). The consistent report of the Bible is that God is the Source of the whole created order.

The Function of Biblical Creation References Genesis is a book about beginnings. The centerpiece of the book is God's redemptive activity following the fall of man. God began by calling Abram out of Ur, by entering into a covenant with him, and by making promises to bless him and to bless all the families of the earth through him.

 Genesis 1-11 is prologue to the patriarchal stories (  Genesis 12-50 ). It sets a world stage on which God acted in choosing one man in order to bless all men.  Genesis 1-2 contain two accounts of creation, the order of man's creation coming at the end in the first and at the beginning in the second. God's creation, “good” as it was (  Genesis 1:4 ,Genesis 1:4, 1:10 ,Genesis 1:10, 1:12 ,Genesis 1:12, 1:21 ,Genesis 1:21, 1:25 ,Genesis 1:25, 1:31 ), soon became bad through human rebellion against God. The accounts of creation in  Genesis 1-2 prepare the reader for the record of the first people being placed in the Garden of Eden, temptation by the serpent, rebellion against God, expulsion from the garden, and the degenerating effect of sin in society.

God's judgment on sin in the form of a flood did not put an end to sin ( Genesis 6-9 ). Noah himself carried sin into the society that survived the flood. Even destroying the tower of Babel, confusing the people's language, and scattering them over the face of the earth did not stop the spread of sin ( Genesis 11:1 ).  Genesis 11:1 ends by introducing Terah, the father of Abram, through whom God would bless the world in spite of its rebellion against Him. The link between creation and redemption is clear.

Isaiah reminded weary exiles that the God he proclaimed as their Redeemer and Sustainer was “the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth” ( Isaiah 40:28 ). The prophet linked God's redemptive activity with His creative activity ( Isaiah 43:7 ,Isaiah 43:7, 43:15 ). He went on to declare God's plan to “create new heavens and a new earth” as well as a new people ( Isaiah 65:17-18 ).

Job lamented that God's hands “made and fashioned” him but for some unexplained reason turned about to “destroy” him ( Job 10:8 ). In a later speech Job expressed the effortless manner in which God created the universe ( Job 26:7-11 ) and defeated Rahab and the serpent ( Job 26:12-13 ). The Lord's speech in response to Job ( Job 38-39 ) makes clear that God is the Creator and that man had no part in creation.

The psalmists' concerns with God as Creator were related to people's place in creation ( Psalm 8:3-4 ), to God's redemptive activity ( Psalm 74:17;  Psalm 95:5 ), and to praise for the Creator ( Psalm 100:3;  Psalm 104:1;  Psalm 24:1-2 ). One psalmist referred to the creation to contrast its perishable nature with the imperishable nature of the Creator ( Psalm 102:25-27 ).

The three doxologies in Amos ( Amos 4:13;  Amos 5:8-9;  Amos 9:5-6 ) magnify God the Creator and Controller of creation. Malachi's reference to God as Creator stresses the fact that one God created all people ( Malachi 2:10 ). This fact forms the basis of the prophet's appeal for faithfulness among covenant members.

John based God's worthiness to receive “glory and honor and power” on His creative activity ( Revelation 4:11 ). By God's will “all things” existed and were created. John's testimony is that “the Word” made all things ( John 1:3 ) and that Jesus is the Word ( John 1:14 ).

Paul's perspective was that Christians represent God's workmanship “created in Christ Jesus for good works” ( Ephesians 2:10 ). The gospel that God called Paul to preach had been hidden in God who “created all things” ( Ephesians 3:9 ). He agreed with John that Jesus the Savior, the firstborn of all creation, was Himself the Source of all creation ( Colossians 1:16-17 ).

The author of Hebrews wrote of God's revelation through prophets of old, but “in these last days” God spoke through a Son ( Hebrews 1:1-2 ). The Son created the world. Like many Old Testament passages, this passage in Hebrews links God's creative activity with His redemptive activity.

The people of Lystra took Barnabas and Paul to be gods ( Acts 14:11 ). Paul and Barnabas set the record straight as they pointed to “the living God which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” ( Acts 14:15 ).

Relationship of Biblical and Extra-biblical References to Creation The Enuma Elish (“When on High”) is probably the best known extra-biblical reference to creation. This Mesopotamian account reflects a striking correspondence in various details and in order of events when it is compared with the biblical references to creation. What is the explanation for these similarities? Did the Babylonians follow the biblical account? Did the biblical authors follow Babylonian prototypes? Did both Babylonian and biblical writers rely on some unidentified ultimate source?

Based on the dating of Babylonian and biblical materials, apparently biblical writers were aware of Babylonian prototypes. Though the two accounts are similar in some ways, they are poles apart in other ways. Conflict between rival deities dominates the Babylonian story of creation. The biblical accounts feature one God creating a good, orderly, and harmonious universe. Their cosmogony (theory of the origin of the universe) is similar; their religion is radically different. Biblical writers seem to be conscious of Babylonian sources, but they take a critical position toward them.

Human Place in Creation Both detailed stories of creation in the Bible feature people at center stage, even though the creation of persons is last in the order of creative acts in  Genesis 1:1-2:4 but first in   Genesis 2:4-24 . The author of  Psalm 8:1 seems surprised at the attention the Creator gives to mortal humans formed from the dust (  Psalm 8:4 ). Yet God gave humans a place of prominence and set them over the rest of creation ( Psalm 8:5-8 ). “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels” ( Psalm 8:5 ) may be a commentary on the Genesis statement that God “created man in his own image” ( Genesis 1:27 ).

The language of  Genesis 1:1 pictures God at a distance speaking humans into existence. The language of   Genesis 2:1 portrays God with a “hands on” closeness shaping Adam and Eve like a potter forming a clay vessel. “Create” (bara') is the dominant verb of creation in   Genesis 1:1 . “Formed” (yatsar) is the controlling verb of creation in  Genesis 2:1 .

New Creation and Physical Creation The Old Testament is consistent in its use of the verb “create” ( bara' ). Only God serves as subject of the verb. Creation is the work of God. People may “make” ( asah ) and “form” ( yatsar ). God alone creates ( bara' ).

 Psalm 51:10 may reflect a transition in usage of “create” ( bara' ) to designate a purely physical work. A clean heart is the object of the verb “create” in this Psalm. Isaiah employed “create” in reference to “new heavens and a new earth” as well as “Jerusalem” and “her people” ( Isaiah 65:17-18 ). Paul wrote to the Corinthians about being “in Christ” and thereby being “a new creation” ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ). “Created in Christ Jesus” is Paul's terminology for spiritual salvation in  Ephesians 2:10 . The point in all of these references is that God alone is the Author of spiritual redemption.

God is the Creator of all things. All things belong to God. God gave humans dominion over creation, a stewardship assignment. Therefore, people are accountable directly to God for their use or abuse of creation. God created “good” heavens and a “good” earth. The entrance of human sin has had an adverse effect on creation ( Hosea 4:1-3 ). Paul pictured that the whole of creation “groaneth and travaileth” under the burden of human sin ( Romans 8:22 ). He also wrote of a time when “the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” ( Romans 8:21 NAS). Paul anticipated a day when God would restore the whole of creation to its original goodness.

Billy K. Smith

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

CREATION . One of the most convincing proofs of the composite authorship of the Pentateuch has always been found in the existence side by side of two independent and mutually irreconcilable accounts of the creation of the world. The first,   Genesis 1:1 to   Genesis 2:4 a, forms the introduction of the Priestly Code (P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ), which was compiled, as is now generally acknowledged, in the 5th cent. b.c. The second,   Genesis 2:4 bff., opens the Jahwistic document (J [Note: Jahwist.] ), whose latest portions must be dated at least a century and a half earlier than the compilation of P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] . These two narratives, while expressing the same fundamental religious ideas, differ profoundly in their concrete conceptions of the process of creation. The account of P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] starts with a description (  Genesis 2:2 ) of the primeval chaos a dark formless watery abyss, out of which the world of light and order was to be evolved. Whether this chaotic matter owed its origin to a prior creative act of God is a question depending on a delicate point of grammatical construction which cannot be adequately explained here; but, looking to the analogy of the Babylonian Creation-story (see below), it seems probable that the chaos is conceived as pre-existent, and that the representation of the chapter falls short of the full dogmatic idea of creation as production out of nothing, an idea first unambiguously expressed in 2Ma 7:28 The work of creation then proceeds in a series of eight Divine fiats, viz.: (1) Creation of light and separation of light from the primeval darkness,  Genesis 1:3-5; (2) division of the chaotic waters by the firmament,   Genesis 1:6-8; (3) separation of land and sea,   Genesis 1:9-10; (4) clothing of the earth with vegetation,   Genesis 1:11-13; (5) formation of the heavenly bodies,   Genesis 1:14-19; (6) production of fishes and birds,   Genesis 1:20-23; (7) land animals,   Genesis 1:24 f.; and (8) the creation of man in the image of God with dominion over the creatures,   Genesis 1:26 ff. The most remarkable formal feature of the record is a somewhat artificial but carefully planned and symmetrical arrangement of the eight works under a scheme of six days. The creative process is thus divided into two parallel stages, each embracing four works and occupying three days, the last day in each division having two works assigned to it. There is an obviously designed, though not quite complete, correspondence between the two series: (1) light || (  Genesis 1:5 ) luminaries; (2) waters and firmament || (  Genesis 1:6 ) fishes and fowls; (3) dry land || (  Genesis 1:7-8 ) terrestrial animals; (4) trees and grasses, and (on the sixth day) the appointment of these as the food of men and animals. The significance of the six days’ scheme is revealed in the closing verses (  Genesis 1:1-3 ), where the resting of the Creator on the seventh day is regarded as the antitype and sanction of the Jewish Sabbath-rest. It is not improbable that the scheme of days is a modification of the original cosmogony, introduced in the interest of the Sabbath law; and this adaptation may account for some anomalies of arrangement which seem to mar the consistency of the scheme.

In the narrative of J [Note: Jahwist.] (2:4bff.), the earth as originally made by Jahweh was an arid lifeless waste, in which no plant could grow for lack of moisture, and where there was no man to till the ground (vv. 5, 6). The idea of man’s superiority to the other creatures is here expressed by placing his creation, not at the end as in P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] , but at the beginning (v. 7); followed by the planting of the garden in which he was to dwell and from whose trees he was to derive his food (vv. 8, 9, 15 17); the forming of beasts and birds to relieve his solitude and awake his craving for a nobler companionship (vv. 18 20); and lastly of the woman, in whom he recognizes a part of himself and a helpmeet for him (vv. 21 23). The express reference to the welfare of man in each act of creation makes it doubtful whether a systematic account of the origin of things was contemplated by the writer, or whether the passage is not rather to be regarded as a poetic clothing of ideas generated by reflexion on fundamental facts of human life and society. It is probable, however, that it contains fragments of a fuller cosmogony which has been abridged and utilized as a prologue to the story of Paradise and the Fall. On either view, the divergence from the account of P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] is so obvious as to preclude the attempt to harmonize the two, or to treat the second as merely supplementary to the first.

Much ingenuity has been expended in the effort to bring the Biblical record of creation into accord with the facts disclosed by the modern sciences of Geology and Astronomy. Naturally such constructions confine their operations to the systematic and semi-scientific account of  Genesis 1:1-31; for it has probably never occurred to any one to vindicate the scientific accuracy of the more imaginative narrative of J [Note: Jahwist.] . But even if we were to admit the unique claim of the first chapter to be a revealed cosmogony, the difficulty of harmonizing it with the teachings of science is seen to be insurmountable as soon as the real nature of the problem to be solved is fairly apprehended. It is not sufficient to emphasize the general idea of gradation and upward progress as common to science and Scripture, or to point to isolated coincidences, such as the creation of fishes before mammals, or the late appearance of man on the earth: the narrative must be taken as a whole, and it must be shown that there is a genuine parallelism between the order of days and works in   Genesis 1:1-31 and the stages of development recognized by science as those through which the universe has reached its present form. This has never been done; and after making every allowance for the imperfection of the geological record, and the general insecurity of scientific hypothesis as distinguished from ascertained fact, enough is known to make it certain that the required correspondence can never be made out. Thus the formation of the sun and moon after the earth, after the alternation of day and night, and even after the emergence of plant-life, is a scientific impossibility. Again, the rough popular classifications of Genesis (plants, aquatic animals, birds, land animals, etc.) are, for scientific purposes, hopelessly inadequate; and the idea that these groups originated as wholes , and in the order here specified, is entirely contrary to the ‘testimony of the rocks.’ But, indeed, the whole conception of the universe on which the cosmogony of Genesis rests opposes a fatal barrier to any valid reconciliation with scientific theory. The world whose origin is here described is a solid expanse of earth, surrounded by and resting on a world-ocean, and surmounted by a rigid vault called the firmament , above which the waters of a heavenly ocean are spread. Such a world is unknown to science; and the manner in which such a world was conceived to have come into being cannot truly represent the process by which the very different world of science and fact has been evolved. This fact alone would amply justify the emphatic verdict of Professor Driver: ‘Read without prejudice or bias, the narrative of   Genesis 1:1-31 creates an impression at variance with the facts revealed by science  : the efforts at reconciliation … are but different modes of obliterating its characteristic features, and of reading into it a view which it does not express ’ ( Westm. Com . ‘Genesis,’ p. 26).

To form a correct estimate of the character and religious value of the first chapter of Genesis, it has to be borne in mind that speculative theories of the origin of the universe were an important element of all the higher religions of antiquity. Many of these cosmogonies (as they are called) are known to us; and amidst all the diversity of representation which characterizes them, we cannot fail to detect certain underlying affinities which suggest a common source, either in the natural tendencies of early thought, or in some dominant type of cosmological tradition. That the Hebrew cosmogony is influenced by such a tradition is proved by its striking likeness to the Babylonian story of creation as contained in cuneiform tablets from Ashurbanipal’s library, first unearthed in 1872. From these Assyriologists have deciphered a highly coloured mythological epic, describing the origin of the world in the form of a conflict between Marduk, god of light and supreme deity of the pantheon of Babylon, and the power of Chaos personified as a female monster named Ti’âmat (Heb. TÄ•hôm ). Wide as is the difference between the polytheistic assumptions and fantastic imagery of the Babylonian narrative and the sober dignity and elevated monotheism of Genesis, there are yet coincidences in general outline and in detail which are too marked and too numerous to be ascribed to chance. In both we have the conception of chaos as a watery abyss, in both the separation of the waters into an upper and a lower ocean; the formation of the heavenly bodies and their function in regulating time are described with remarkable similarity; special prominence is given to the creation of man; and it may be added that, while the order of creation differs in the two documents, yet the separate works themselves are practically identical. In view of this pervading parallelism, it is clear that the Hebrew and Babylonian cosmogonies are very closely related; and the only question open to discussion is which of them represents more faithfully the primary tradition on which each is based. Looking, however, to the vastly higher antiquity of the Babylonian narrative, to its conformity (even in points which affect the Biblical record) to the climatic conditions of the Euphrates Valley, and to the general indebtedness of Israel to the civilization of Babylon, it cannot reasonably be doubted that the Hebrew narrative is dependent on Babylonian models; though it is of course not certain that the particular version preserved in the tablets referred to is the exact original by which the Biblical writers were influenced.

From this point of view we are able to state the significance of the Scripture account of creation in a way which does justice at once to its unrivalled religious value and to its lack of scientific corroboration. The material is derived from some form of the Babylonian cosmogony, and shares the imperfection and error incident to all pre-scientific speculation regarding the past history of the world. The Scripture writers make no pretension to supernatural illumination on matters which it is the province of physical investigation to ascertain. Their theology , on the other hand, is the product of a revelation which placed them far in advance of their heathen contemporaries, and imparted to all their thinking a sanity of imagination and a sublimity of conception that instinctively rejected the grosser features of paganism, and transformed what was retained into a vehicle of Divine truth. Thus the cosmogony became a classical expression of the monotheistic principle of the OT, which is here embodied in a detailed description of the genesis of the universe that lays hold of the mind as no abstract statement of the principle could do. In opposition to the heathen theogonies, the world is affirmed to have been created, i.e. to have originated in the will of God, whose Personality transcends the universe and exists independently of it. The spirituality of the First Cause of all things, and His absolute sovereignty over the material He employs, are further emphasized in the idea of the word of God as the agency through which the various orders of existence were produced; and the repeated assertion that the world in all its parts was ‘good,’ and as a whole ‘very good,’ suggests that it perfectly reflected the Divine thought which called it into being. When to these doctrines we add the view of man, as made in the likeness of God, and marked out as the crown and goal of creation, we have a body of spiritual truth which distinguishes the cosmogony of   Genesis 1:1-31 from all similar compositions, and entitles it to rank amongst the most important documents of revealed religion.

John Skinner.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

A basic Christian belief is that God created all things, and that all three persons of the godhead were involved in the acts of creation. God spoke and, by the power of his creative word, it happened ( Genesis 1:1-3;  Job 33:4;  Psalms 33:6;  Psalms 33:9;  Psalms 102:25;  John 1:1-3;  Hebrews 1:1-2).

The Creator and the universe

God alone is eternal; therefore, before his initial act of creation, nothing existed apart from him. He created all things, visible and invisible. Even spirit beings, though they may have existed before the physical universe, are creatures whom God has made ( Genesis 1:1-2;  Job 38:4-11;  Psalms 33:6-9;  Psalms 90:2;  Isaiah 40:26-28;  Isaiah 42:5;  John 1:1-3;  Romans 11:36;  Colossians 1:16;  Hebrews 11:3;  Revelation 4:11). Once God had created matter, he used the materials of the universe to make and develop the features of the universe. He made animals and humans, for example, out of materials he had made earlier ( Genesis 2:7;  Genesis 2:19).

Having created the universe, God did not then leave it to itself, as if it were like a huge clock that he wound up and left to run automatically. God is still active in the physical universe. He maintains what he creates. Though he is Lord of creation and distinct from it, he works through it. He is over all things and in all things ( Psalms 147:8-9;  Acts 17:24;  Acts 17:28;  Ephesians 4:6;  Colossians 1:17;  Hebrews 1:3; see also Providence ).

The universe exists, above all, for the praise and glory of God. He created it, not as an act of necessity, but as an act of free grace; not because he had to, but because he chose to ( Isaiah 43:7;  Acts 17:25;  Romans 11:36;  Ephesians 1:11;  Colossians 1:16;  Revelation 4:11). It shows something of God’s love, power and wisdom ( Psalms 19:1-4;  Jeremiah 10:12;  Romans 1:20).

God’s ‘rest’ after creation indicated that he was completely satisfied with all his created works. In his grace he gave the physical world to the people he had created and made them caretakers over it. God wanted them to enjoy his creation in fellowship with himself, and in so doing to share in his ‘rest’ ( Genesis 1:27-28;  Genesis 2:1-3;  Hebrews 4:3-10).

But the human creatures refused to submit to their divine Creator, and as a result they ruined the relationship both with the Creator and with the physical creation. They brought disaster upon the human race as a whole and this had damaging consequences in the natural world ( Genesis 3:17-19;  Romans 1:20-23;  Romans 8:20). Only when the redeemed enters their full salvation at the end of the age will the created world enter its full glory ( Romans 8:21-23;  Philippians 3:21; see Nature ).

Story of creation

The chief purpose of the account of creation in Genesis is to provide an introduction to the story of God’s dealings with the human race. It shows that God created everything out of nothing, and that he brought the universe through various stages of development till it was a fitting dwelling place for human beings ( Genesis 1:1;  Genesis 1:5;  Genesis 1:8;  Genesis 1:13;  Genesis 1:19;  Genesis 1:23;  Genesis 1:31;  Genesis 2:4-7). Modern science may at times cause people to think they are almost insignificant in relation to the size and complexity of the universe, but the Bible takes a different view. It is concerned above all with people, and says little about how the physical universe operates ( Psalms 8:3-9).

God is pleased when men and women want to learn more about the wonders of his creation, but he has appointed that they do so by the hard work of study and investigation ( Genesis 3:19;  Psalms 111:2). God does not usually give such information by direct revelation. The Bible is not a textbook on science, nor is it concerned with the sort of information that scientists are concerned with. Its purpose is not to teach scientific theories, but to give a short simple account of the beginning of things, and in language that people of any era or any background can understand.

The language of the creation story, like that of the rest of the Bible, is not the technical language of the scientist, but the everyday language of the common people (cf.  Genesis 1:16;  Genesis 7:11-12;  Genesis 40:22). The scientist may speak of the sun as the centre of the solar system, with the earth a minor satellite of the sun, and the moon a minor satellite of the earth. The Bible, by contrast, speaks of the heavens and the earth from the viewpoint of ordinary observers. To them the earth appears stationary, and the sun ‘rises’ and ‘sets’ as it moves around the earth ( 1 Chronicles 16:30;  Ecclesiastes 1:5;  Malachi 1:11;  Matthew 5:45). The sun is the ‘greater light’ and the moon the ‘lesser light’ ( Genesis 1:16). The pictorial language of the Bible is different from the technical language of science, but the two are not necessarily in conflict.

Science may tell us much about God’s creation, though it does so from a viewpoint that is different from the Bible’s. Science can help us understand how nature works, whereas the Bible is concerned with showing that God is the one who makes nature work.

From science we may learn how the stars move, how the weather changes, or how plants grow, but from the Bible we learn that God is the one who makes these things happen ( Psalms 65:9-10;  Psalms 78:20;  Psalms 78:26;  Psalms 104:1-30;  Psalms 147:8;  Matthew 5:45;  Matthew 6:30). Although science may investigate how the creation developed, the Bible reveals that the development came about through the creative activity of the sovereign God. The ‘laws of nature’ are God’s laws ( Genesis 1:1;  Genesis 1:7;  Genesis 1:11;  Genesis 1:20;  Genesis 1:24;  Hebrews 11:3).

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [6]

In its primary import, signifies the bringing into being something which did not before exist. The term is therefore most generally applied to the original production of the materials whereof the visible world is composed. It is also used in a secondary or subordinate sense to denote those subsequent operations of the Deity upon the matter so produced, by which the whole system of Nature, and all the primitive genera of things, receive their form, qualities, and laws. There is no subject concerning which learned men have differed in their conjectures more than in this of creation. "It is certain, " as a good writer observes, "that none of the ancient philosophers had the smallest idea of its being possible to produce a substance out of nothing, or that even the power of the Deity himself could work without any materials to work upon. Hence some of them, among whom was Aristotle, asserted that the world was eternal, both as to its matter and form. Others, though they believed that the gods had given the world its form, yet imagined the materials whereof it is composed to have been eternal. Indeed, the opinions of the ancients, who had not the benefit of revelation, were on this head so confused and contradictory, that nothing of any consequence can be deduced from them.

The free-thinkers of our own and of former ages have denied the possibility of creation, as being a contradiction to reason; and of consequence have taken the opportunity from thence to discredit revelation. On the other hand, many defenders of the sacred writings have asserted that creation out of nothing, so far from being a contradiction to reason, is not only probable, but demonstrably certain. Nay, some have gone so far as to say, that from the very inspection of the visible system of Nature, we are able to infer that it was once in a state of non-existence." We cannot, however, here enter into the multiplicity of the arguments on both sides; it is enough for us to know what God has been pleased to reveal, both concerning himself and the works of his hands. "Men, and other animals that inhabit the earth and the seas; all the immense varieties of herbs and plants of which the vegetable kingdom consists; the globe of the earth, and the expanse of the ocean; these we know to have been produced by his power. Besides the terrestrial world, which we inhabit, we see many other material bodies disposed around it in the wide extent of space.

The moon, which is in a particular manner connected with our earth, and even dependent upon it; the sun, and the other planets, with their satellites, which like the earth circulate round the sun, and appear to derive from him light and heat; those bodies which we call fixed stars, and consider as illuminating and cherishing, with heat each its peculiar system of planets; and the comets which at certain periods surprise us with their appearance, and the nature of whose connection with the general system of Nature, or with any particular system of planets, we cannot pretend to have fully discovered; these are so many more of the Deity's works, from the contemplation of which we cannot but conceive the most awful ideas of his creative power. "Matter, however, whatever the varieties of form under which it is made to appear, the relative disposition of its parts, or the motions communicated to it, is but an inferior part of the works of creation. We believe ourselves to be animated with a much higher principle than brute matter; in viewing the manners and economy of the lower animals, we can scarce avoid acknowledging even them to consist of something more than various modifications of matter and motion. The other planetary bodies, which seem to be in circumstances nearly analogous to those of our earth, are surely, as well as it, destined for the habitations of rational intelligent beings. the existence of intelligences of an higher order than man, though infinitely below the Deity, appears extremely probable. Of these spiritual beings, called angels, we have express intimation in Scripture (see the article Angel But the limits of the creation we must not pretend to define.

How far the regions of space extend, or how they are filled, we know not. How the planetary worlds, the sun, and the fixed stars are occupied, we do not pretend to have ascertained. We are even ignorant how wide a diversity of forms, what an infinity of living animated beings may inhabit our own globe. So confined is our knowledge of creation, yet so grand, so awful, that part which our narrow understandings can comprehend!" "Concerning the periods of time at which the Deity executed his several works, it cannot be pretended that mankind have had opportunities of receiving very particular information. Many have been the conjectures, and curious the fancies of learned men, respecting it; but, after all, we must be indebted to the sacred writings for the best information." Different copies, indeed, give different dates. The Hebrew copy of the Bible, which we Christians, for good reasons, consider as the most authentic, dates the creation of the world 3944 years before the Christian era. The Samaritan Bible, again, fixes the era of the creation 4305 years before the birth of Christ. And the Greek translation, known by the name of the Septuagint version of the Bible, gives 5270 as the number of years which intervened between these two periods.

By comparing the various dates in the sacred writings, examining how these have come to disagree, and to be diversified in different copies; endeavouring to reconcile the most authentic profane with sacred chronology, some ingenious men have formed schemes of chronology plausible, indeed, but not supported by sufficient authorities, which they would gladly persuade us to receive in preference to any of those above-mentioned. Usher makes out from the Hebrew Bible 4004 years as the term between the creation and the birth of Christ. Josephus, according to Dr. Wills, and Mr. Whiston, makes it 4658 years; and M. Pezron, with the help of the Septuagint, extends it to 5872 years. Usher's system is the most generally received. But though these different systems of chronology are so inconsistent, and so slenderly supported, yet the differences among them are so inconsiderable, in comparison with those which arise before us when we contemplate the chronology of the Chinese, the Chaldeans, and the Egyptians, and they agree so well with the general information of authentic history, and with the appearances of nature and of society, that they may be considered as nearly fixing the true period of the creation of the earth." Uncertain, however, as we may be as to the exact time of the creation, we may profitably apply ourselves to the contemplation of this immense fabric.

Indeed, the beautiful and multiform works around us must strike the mind of every beholder with wonder and admiration, unless he be enveloped in ignorance, and chained down to the earth with sensuality. These works every way proclaim the wisdom, the power, and the goodness of the Creator. Creation is a book which the nicest philosopher may study with the deepest attention. Unlike the works of art, the more it is examined, the more it opens to us sources of admiration of its great Author; the more it calls for our inspection, and the more it demands our praise. Here every thing is adjusted in the exactest order; all answering the wisest ends, and acting according to the appointed laws of Deity. Here the Christian is led into the most delightful field of contemplation. To him every pebble becomes a preacher, and every atom a step by which he ascends to his Creator. Placed in this beautiful temple, and looking around on all its various parts, he cannot help joining with the Psalmist in saying, "O Lord, how manifold are thy works; in wisdom hast thou made them all!"

See Eternity of GOD.

See Ray and Blackmore on the Creation; art. Creation, Enc. Brit.; Derham's Astro and Physico- theology; Hervey's Meditations; La Pluche's Nature Displayed; Sturm's Reflections on the Works of God.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

This word is principally applied to the act of bringing things into existence that did not exist before. This is expressed in  Hebrews 11:3 : "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." It is also applied to making new things out of material already in existence, thus, though man was 'made' of the dust of the ground,  Genesis 2:7 , he is also said to have been created, the same Hebrew word, bara , being used in  Genesis 1:1 for the creation of the world, that is used in   Genesis 5:1,2 , for the creation of man. The passage in  Hebrews 11 is important, because as men have no idea how anything can be brought into existence from nothing, they have talked of 'the eternity of matter;' the passage says it is 'by faith we understand' that the worlds were made by the word of God, so that seen things were not made of what is apparent.

The discoveries made by geologists of the various strata of the earth, the fossils found therein, together with the time that would necessarily be required for the formation of those strata, raised a cry that scripture must be incorrect in saying all was done in seven days. This led Christians to compare these works of God in creation with His words in scripture; and the principal question resolved itself into this: where in scripture could be found the many thousands of years which were apparently needed under ordinary circumstances for the formation of the strata? Putting aside the theories of the geologists, the facts are undeniable. There are the various beds of different substances in layers, which any one can see for themselves.

There are two ways in which Christians who have studied the subject hold that all difficulties are overcome.

1. That a long gap, of as many thousands of years as were necessary for the formation of the earth's crust, may be placed between verses 1 and 2 of  Genesis 1 . That  Genesis 1:1 refers to the original creation of the heaven and earth out of nothing; that the different beds were formed with the varying objects that are found therein as fossils, occupying a very long period. Then in   Genesis 1:2 another condition is found: the earth by some means had become without form and void.* It was then ordered in view of the creation of man; and the various things were arranged and formed in the six days as detailed in   Genesis 1 , as they are now found in and on the earth.

*Some suppose this to have been the work of Satan.

The principal objection to this is, that though there had been upheavals, depressions, earthquakes, sudden deaths, as evidenced by the contortions of fishes, in some of the early strata, there is no appearance after the various beds had been formed of what would answer to  Genesis 1:2 , which says "the earth was without form and void."

2. The other theory is that  Genesis 1:1 and   Genesis 1:2 refer to the formation of the earth as matter, or that   Genesis 1:1 refers to the creation of the earth, and that   Genesis 1:2 refers to its being disordered by some means, as in the above theory, but that the various beds were formed with the fossils found therein during the six days recorded in   Genesis 1; and that the days were of any needed indefinite length. It has been shown that the first things named as on the earth were grass and herbs, and these are always found in the lowest beds; and the other things created are found exactly in the same order upwards from the lowest, until man appears. These, in short, form three divisions: plants in the lowest beds; reptiles in the middle; mammals in the highest, with man the most recent. It is also asserted that no break has been discovered, as would be the case if after the beds had been formed destruction had come in, and an entirely new work of creation had begun again in what is recorded in   Genesis 1 . Many of the existing species are contemporaneous with those that we know have ceased to exist. It is maintained that the term 'day' is often used for indefinite periods of time in scripture, and therefore may be so in  Genesis 1; that they refer to God's days, and not to natural days, seeing that 'the evening and the morning' are spoken of before the sun, which naturally causes the evening and morning. Also that it is not consistent to hold that God's rest on the seventh day only alluded to 24 hours.†It is true that the introduction of sin marred God's rest; but this is not there contemplated.

†It is asserted that long before any question of geology arose there were some among the Jews, as Josephus and Philo, and some among the Christians, as Whiston, Des Cartes, and De Luc, who believed that the 'days' of  Genesis 1 were long periods. — 'Creation,' Kitto's Cyclopaedia.

To this theory it is objected that the words 'the evening and the morning' are too definite a description of the meaning of the word 'day' to allow the idea of indefinite periods. It is also held that  Isaiah 45:18 (translating the passage "He created it not without form, he formed it to be inhabited") proves that God did not create the world in the first instance "without form and void." The word 'created' here is the same as in   Genesis 1:1; and the words 'in vain' in the A.V. are the same as 'without form' in  Genesis 1:2 . As to the correspondence in the order of created things it may be admitted that if the long periods come in between  Genesis 1:1 and 2, the after order in the six days' creation is exactly the same — God working, in the same order on the large scale (ages), and on the smaller (six days' work).

Either of these theories sufficiently meets the supposed difficulty, and shows that God in His works does not clash with God in His word, though His word was never intended to teach science.

In the creation we read that of every living thing each was made 'after his kind;' man was entirely separated from all others by God forming him in His own image and likeness, and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, thus leaving no room for the modern theory of evolution. God, who knew perfectly everything which He had created, declared it to be as it left His hands very good  ; and the more His works are examined the more perfection is discovered in every minute detail both as to plan and purpose, suiting everything for the place which each and every one is intended to fill. Sin has come in and spoiled God's fair creation, but man, who has been the occasion of it, dares to ignore God, or to blame Him for the pains and penalties attached to fallen humanity. Man everywhere endorses Adam's sin by his own individual sins.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

(1.) the act by which God calls into existence things not previously in being-material or spiritual, visible or invisible,  Psalm 148:5   Revelation 4:11;

(2.) the molding or reconstituting things, the elements of which previously existed; and

(3.) the things thus "created and made,"  2 Peter 3:4   Revelation 3:14   5:13 . It is probably in the first of these senses the word "created" is to be understood in  Genesis 1:1 , though some understand it in the second sense. In either case the idea of the eternity of matter is to be rejected, as contrary to sound reason and to the teachings of Scripture,  Proverbs 8:22-31   John 1:1-3   Hebrews 11:3 .

Creation is exclusively the work of God. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each in turn named as its author,  Isaiah 40:28   Colossians 1:16   Genesis 2:2 . It is a work the mysteries of which no finite mind can apprehend; and yet, as it reveals to us the invisible things of God,  Romans 1:20 , we may and ought to learn what he reveals respecting it not only in revelation, but in his works. These two volumes are from the same divine hand, and cannot but harmonize with each other. The Bible opens with an account of the creation unspeakably majestic and sublime. The six days there spoken of have usually been taken for our present natural days; but modern geological researches have given rise to the idea that "day" here denotes a longer period. The different rocks of our globe lie in distinct layers, the comparative age of which is supposed to have been ascertained. Only the most recent have been found to contain human remains. Older layers present in turn different fossil remains of animals and plants, many of them supposed to be now extinct. These layers are deeply imbedded beneath the present soil, and yet appear to be formed of matter washed into the bed of some primeval sea, and hardened into rock. Above this may lie numerous other strata of different materials, but which appear to have been deposited in the same manner, in the slow lapse of time. These layers are also thrown up and penetrated all over the world by rocks of still earlier formations, apparently once in a melted state.

There are several modes of reconciling these geological discoveries with the statements of Scripture: First, that the six days of  Genesis 1.1-31 denote six long epochs-periods of alternate progressive formation and revolution on the surface of the earth. To the Lord "a thousand years are as one day,"   Psalm 90:2,4   2 Peter 3:5-10   Revelation 20:1 -  15 . Secondly, that the long epochs indicated in the geological structure of the globe occurred before the Bible account commences, or rather in the interval between the first and second verses of  Genesis 1:1-31 . According to this interpretation,  Genesis 1:2 describes the state of the earth at the close of the last revolution it experienced, preparatory to God's fitting it up for the abode of man as described in the verses following. Thirdly, that God compressed the work of those untold ages into six short days, and created the world as he did Adam, in a state of maturity, embodying in its rocks and fossils those rudimental forms of animal and vegetable life which seem naturally to lead up to the existing forms.

The "Creature" and "the whole creation," in  Romans 8:19-22 , may denote the irrational and inferior creation, which shall be released from the curse, and share in the glorious liberty of the sons of God,  Isaiah 11:6   35:1   2 Peter 3:7-13 . The bodies of believers, now subject to vanity, are secure of full deliverance at the resurrection-"the redemption of our body,"  Romans 8:23 .

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [9]

CREATION. —The beginning of the world, as the earliest starting-point of time, is mentioned in  Matthew 24:21,  Mark 13:19. The other Gospel references to this subject include one by an Evangelist and two by our Lord Himself. The first ( John 1:3) teaches that the Divine Word, who afterwards became incarnate in Jesus ( John 1:14), was the direct Agent in Creation (cf.  Colossians 1:6,  Hebrews 1:2; and see following art.). The second ( John 5:17) occurs in a discussion on the Sabbath. In the words ‘my Father worketh hitherto,’ Jesus shows that the divine rest following the work of creation has been a period of continued Divine activity. His primary object is to justify His own works of healing on the Sabbath day, but He shows incidentally that the seventh ‘day,’ and therefore also the other ‘days,’ of Genesis 1 need not be understood in a literal sense. In the third allusion ( Matthew 19:4 ff.,  Mark 10:6 ff.) the words of  Genesis 1:27;  Genesis 2:24, describing the original creation of man and woman, are quoted in support of Christ’s ideal of marriage (cf.  Ephesians 5:31).

James Patrick.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Genesis 1:1,26 1 Corinthians 8:6 John 1:3 Colossians 1:16,17 Genesis 1:2 Job 26:13 Psalm 104:30 Isaiah 37:16 40:12,13 54:5 Psalm 96:5 Jeremiah 10:11,12 Colossians 1:16 Revelation 4:11 Romans 11:36

Traditions of the creation, disfigured by corruptions, are found among the records of ancient Eastern nations. (See Accad .) A peculiar interest belongs to the traditions of the Accadians, the primitive inhabitants of the plains of Lower Mesopotamia. These within the last few years have been brought to light in the tablets and cylinders which have been rescued from the long-buried palaces and temples of Assyria. They bear a remarkable resemblance to the record of Genesis.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [11]

Creation. (The creation of all things is ascribed in the Bible to God, and is the only reasonable account of the origin of the world. The Method of creation is not stated in Genesis, and as far as the account there is concerned, each part of it may be, after the first acts of creation, by evolution, or by direct act of God's will. The Hebrew word bara Create is used but three times in the first chapter of Genesis -

(1) as to the origin of matter;

(2) as to the origin of life;

(3) as to the origin of man's soul; and science has always failed to do any of these acts thus ascribed to God.

All other things are said to be Made . The Order Of Creation as given in Genesis is in close harmony with the order as revealed by geology, and the account there given, so long before the records of the rocks were read or the truth discoverable by man, is one of the strongest proofs that the Bible was inspired by God. - Editor).

King James Dictionary [12]


1. The act of creating the act of causing to exist and especially, the act of bringing this world into existence.  Romans 1 . 2. The act of making, by new combinations of matter, invested with new forms and properties, and of subjecting to different laws the act of shaping and organizing as the creation of man and other animals, of plants, minerals, &c. 3. The act of investing with a new character as the creation of peers in England. 4. The act of producing. 5. The things created creatures the world the universe.

As subjects then the whole creation came.

6. Any part of the things created.

Before the low creation swarmed with men.

7. Any thing produced or caused to exist.

A false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain.

Webster's Dictionary [13]

(1): (n.) That which is created; that which is produced or caused to exist, as the world or some original work of art or of the imagination; nature.

(2): (n.) The act of creating or causing to exist. Specifically, the act of bringing the universe or this world into existence.

(3): (n.) The act of constituting or investing with a new character; appointment; formation.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

Creation is the absolute bringing into existence of the world by God. It is that act of God by which he, standing before and above all mundane and natural things, made and arranged the universe. It embraces everything which is not God.

I. The Idea Of Creation . In order to form a proper conception of what creation is, we must concede the absolute dependence of the world upon God. We err in limiting it to the mere beginning of the world. It is true that it was that divine act by which all objects were brought into being. It therefore stands as the beginning of all divine operation in the world, and of the universal development of the world. But that God created the universe implies not only that he gave a beginning to its existence, but that he continues that existence, and that he is the only fountain of its present being. The world is not self-derived nor self-sustained; it is only from and by God that it now exists. But creation is not a mere accident of the divine character, nor a temporary moment in the divine life, nor an impartation and manifestation of God, nor a blind, passive, and pathological evolution or emanation of the divine essence. Yet it is God's work alone, and was as unconstrained as any other deed performed by divine power. When we say that God created the world, we not only do not affirm, but actually deny that God has imparted himself, and passed into his own work. God is the absolute founder of the world, and he has not passed into its nature, but stands high above all the conditions of created being. Nor, while the world is not God himself, can it be said to partake of any other divine nature. It is simply God's work and manifestation; it is a creation which is from, by, and for God. Thus the full idea of creation implies that God is the absolute, impartial, and personal Spirit who, of his own free will, gave existence to the universe.

In the Mosaic account of the creation, we find that magnificent testimony of the faith which recognizes God's creation in the surrounding world (compare  Hebrews 11:3, Through Faith We Understand That The Worlds Were Framed By The Word Of God, So That Things Which Are Seen Were Not Made Of Things Which Do Appear ). This testimony possesses a strong religious and canonical worth, apart from our views of the peculiar character of the cosmogony of Moses, whether we shape them according to the opinions of the old Church theologians, who held that the Mosaic account was actual history; or whether we harmonize with the modern allegorists, who claim that it is prophecy reversed, or prophetic vision; or whether we take the low view of attributing to it a mythical character. The most important portion of this, as of other scriptural statements concerning the creation, is contained in the proposition that God, in his eternal, infinite love, is the only highest cause; that he is limited by no principle beyond himself; that he is the independent Founder of the world. By world we mean Κόσμος , Αἰῶνες ,  Hebrews 1:2;  Hebrews 1:11, or the Universe , which is always described in the Old Testament, and usually in the New, as "heaven and earth," "heaven, earth, sea, and all which is therein." It is God alone who has brought all things into being ( Hebrews 3:4;  Acts 17:24;  Acts 14:15;  Revelation 4:11;  Hebrews 11:3;  Psalms 33:6;  Psalms 102:26;  Isaiah 45:18;  Jeremiah 10:12). Nothing has had a being without the Logos of God ( John 1:3). Everything owes its existence and its life to the word of God. It is because God endowed it with entity; because he so willed it; Διὰ Τὸ Θέλημά Σου ( Revelation 4:11); by his word, Ρ̓ῆμα , דָּבָר ( Hebrews 11:3;  Psalms 33:6); by his speaking ( Genesis 1:3;  2 Corinthians 4:6); by his absolute power, Παντοδύναμος Χείρ (Wisdom of Solomon 11:18); and by his personal power ( Jeremiah 10:12), in which he needed no assistance whatever, but by which he was able to create whatever he desired ( Psalms 115:3;  Psalms 135:6). By this power he, in his own supreme majesty, evoked into existence that which was nonexistent ( Romans 4:17;  Psalms 33:9), and by virtue of the same omnipotence is able to annihilate what he has called into being ( Psalms 104:29;  Psalms 102:26, etc.;  Isaiah 51:6;  Luke 21:33;  Revelation 21:1;  Revelation 21:4). The Spirit of God, or "the breath of his mouth," which ( Psalms 33:6) stands parallel with the creative word that "moved upon the face of the waters," is nothing less than the active, forming, animating, divine power. The strength by which God creates takes its place beside his wisdom and knowledge ( Jeremiah 10:12;  Romans 11:33); and the divine wisdom or intelligence appears to have been ( Proverbs 8:22, etc.) the first ground and adjusting principle of creation. Instead, however, of reading in  John 1:3, of this world-creative "wisdom," we find a description of the same eternal Logos of God who became flesh in Christ. Thus the creative principle is identified with that of redemption; and while the creation is distinguished as an act of love, the highest revelation of that love is to be found in the incarnation of God in the world. In both creation and redemption we perceive the thouguht that God, without the intervention and aid of any foreign power, gave existence to that which had previously no being; and that he did this by virtue of no blind necessity, but by his own volition alone.

It may be proper here to treat briefly of the meaning of בָּרָא ( Bara , "create"), in Genesis, chap. 1. Gesenius and Furst agree in giving to this word Bara , in Genesis 1, the sense of proper creating, although they seem to give that of cutting as the primitive (not usual) idea inherent in the root, comparing as cognate בָּרָה , to choose, בִּר , a son (which Furst, on the other hand, derives from בֶּן ), and the Arab. Bara , etc. Gesenius refers to the Piel form of the Hebrews root ( בֵּרֵא , to fashion), as the most characteristic (?) conjugation. He concludes, however, with the following judicious note ( Thesaur. Heb. p. 236): "In the trite dispute of interpreters and theologians concerning creation out of nothing, some appeal likewise to the word under consideration, as if it might be gathered from its very etymology and proper signification that the first chap. of Genesis teaches not a creation from nothing, but a conformation of matter eternally existing. On the contrary, from the instances we have given, it will abundantly appear that the actual use of this word in Kal is altogether different from its primary signification, and that it is rather employed with respect to the new production of a thing (see  Genesis 2:3) than to the conformation and elaboration of material. That the opening clause of Genesis sets forth the world as first created out of nothing, and this in a rude and undigested state, while the remainder of the first chapter exhibits the elaboration of the recently created mass, the connection of the whole paragraph renders entirely plain. So also the Rabbins (Aben-Ezra ad  Genesis 1:1 : Most hold שהבריאה להוצוא יש מאין , that creation is the production of a thing from nothing') and the N.T. writers ( Hebrews 11:3;  Romans 4:17; comp.  2 Maccabees 7:28) teach, although the writer of the Book of Wisdom (11:17), following the Grecian dogmas, holds matter to be eternal. See on this question Mos. Maimon. in More Nebochim , 3, 13; Mosheim, De Crertione Mun. Di Ex Nihilo , appended to Crdworth's Intellectual System ; Beausobre, Hist. De Manichee Et Du Manicheisme , vol. 2, Luke 5, chap. 4."

The examples to which Gesenius refers as sustaining this position are (in addition to the equivalent Arab. bariyun, creator, Koran, Sur. 2:51; bariyatun, creature, Abulf. Ann. 1:18'; Jauhar. Spec. ed. Schneid. p. 14; and all the other Shemitic tongues, which have the same usage), the following: "Spoken of the creation of the heaven and earth,  Genesis 1:1;  Isaiah 40:26;  Isaiah 45:18; of the bounds of the earth,  Isaiah 40:26; of the wind,  Amos 4:13; of men,  Genesis 1:27;  Genesis 5:1-2;  Genesis 6:7;  Deuteronomy 4:32;  Isaiah 45:12;  Psalms 89:48;  Malachi 2:10; specially, of Israel,  Isaiah 43:1;  Isaiah 43:15; of beasts, Genesis 21; of light and darkness,  Isaiah 45:7, etc. Add these examples:  Psalms 51:12 ( create in me a clean heart, O God');  Isaiah 45:7 ( I make peace, and create evil');  Jeremiah 31:22 ( the Lord hath created a new thing;' comp.  Numbers 16:30). It is used with a double accusative,  Isaiah 65:18 ( I create Jerusalem a rejoicing,' i.e. joyous); 4:5; 48:7. The participle ( בּוֹרֵאֵיךָ , the plur. of majesty, but according to many MSS. in the sing. בּוֹרְאֶךָ ) stands for the Creator ( Ecclesiastes 12:1). בָּרָא is joined with the words יָצִר [ Yatsar , to form], in  Isaiah 43:7;  Isaiah 45:18; and עָשָׂה [ Asah , to make, in  Isaiah 41:20;  Isaiah 45:7;  Isaiah 45:12; generally as synonymous: with the latter it is not seldom interchanged,  Genesis 1:26 (comp.  Genesis 1:27);  Genesis 2:4; but that there is nevertheless a difference at least between these two is evident from  Genesis 2:3 ( which God created and made, בָּרָא לִעֲשׂוֹת [where therof union is generally regarded as epexegetical]). These words, which have perplexed many, even Hebrew interpreters, L. de Dieu (ad loc.) has rightly explained by adducing parallel phrases ( הֵרֵעִ לִעֲשׂוֹת , הַגְרַּיל לִעֲשׂוֹת etc.), as meaning produced by making, i.e. made by producing something new; comp. Jero 31:22, and בְּרַיאָה (ib. p. 235). The word occurs (in the Kal or simple form) likewise in  Psalms 89:12;  Isaiah 42:5;  Isaiah 45:8;  Isaiah 45:18;  Isaiah 54:16;  Isaiah 57:19;  Isaiah 65:17 (in the Niphal or passive)  Genesis 2:4;  Genesis 5:2;  Psalms 102:18;  Psalms 104:30;  Psalms 148:5,  Ezekiel 21:30;  Ezekiel 28:13;  Ezekiel 28:15 ("done");  Exodus 34:10.

From this examination, it is evident that although the word in question is etymologically connected with roots (like the Engl. pare, Lat. paro, etc.) that have a less decided import, yet its current and legitimate signification is that of creation in the modern and proper acceptation. As the Hebrews were not given to philosophical disquisition, their language is peculiarly barren in terms expressive of metaphysical or dialectical niceties, and hence they frequently employed this word in less exact applications. Moreover, as the act of creation was in the nature of the case but once performed, the term could only be used infrequently with reference to that event, just as "create" with moderns etymologically and even practically refers rather to production in a subordinate sense than to absolute origination. In both words, however, the higher and full sense is never lost sight of, and thus they appear as nearly synonymous in actual usage as any two in different and widely remote languages could well be. The translators of the Auth. Vers. have therefore done well by invariably (except in the single passage above noted) rendering בָּרָא (in Kal and Niphal at least), and no other Hebrews term, by Create .

The N.T. writers employ in the same sense Κτίζω (with the nouns Κτίσις , Creation , Κτίσμα , Creature , and Κτιστής , Creator ) as the nearest equivalent in Greek, after the example of the Sept., in most passages (in Genesis it has Ποιέω ). See Macdonald, Creation And Fall (Edinb. 1856), p. 61-4.

That this absolute sense is the true one in  Genesis 1:1, at least, is demonstrable from the association there with the term "beginning." For if matter had existed eternally, there would have been no proper "beginning" at all of its existence; and to understand the mere arrangement of chaotic elements by the phraseology in question would be to confound something that is said to have taken place "in the beginning" with what is afterwards detailed under successive days. On the other hand, if matter be not eternal, it must at some time have been brought into being, and precisely that act would be the real "beginning" of all material things. This is obviously what the sacred writer intended to state: in opposition to the general belief of antiquity, he affirms that matter was originally the direct product of divine power, and from this event he dates the history of the physical universe.

II. God's Motive in Creation. This motive has been ascribed by doctrinal writers to the free operation of God's love, his bonitas communicativa. He was not affected by any compulsion or selfish desire. In the essence and volition of divine love, all the much-discussed antagonism between freedom and necessity is canceled. To suppose that the creation could have been otherwise than it was is an abstraction of no utility whatever. We only speak relatively when we declare that God could not have created otherwise than he did. But if we make the same affirmation absolutely, we degrade God's freedom to abstract authority, and creation to accident or a mere experiment. The necessity in which God created the universe is the definitiveness of his own will, his self-determination which he possesses by virtue of his own divine character. It is not an external compulsion, but an interior impulse of the divine nature to manifest itself; a necessity of God's love to communicate itself. The question whether God could have created any other world than he has was discussed earnestly by the Scholastics, and later by Leibnitz in his Theodicy. If we imagine that God had a number of world-plans, out of which he selected the one which he consummated, we concede too much to the Optimists. That creation which he brought into being was the only one to which he was moved by the deep inner love of his infinite divine character. The aim which God had in view was not his own glory exclusively; he was not impelled by a purely egotistical power, but by eternal love; he desired the good of his creatures; and it was only as he wished his creation to be pure that he desired to be glorified by that purity. All created beings are not solely means for an end; but they have been created for their own sake, that they might receive the communications of God and be permeated by his goodness; not that they might subsequently be absorbed in him, but rest eternally happy in and with him. Creation reached its aim relatively in personal creatures and absolutely in Christ the God-man. The kingdom of the natural creation attains its perfection in the kingdom of grace and glory; the effulgence of the glory of God appears in, and concurs with, the happiness of his creatures; and the perfection of the Church takes place, not by the overthrow, but by the renewal and illumination of the world in God ( 2 Peter 3:13;  Isaiah 65:17;  Isaiah 66:22;  Revelation 21:1; comp.  Romans 8:19, etc.; comp. Twesten, Vorles. Fib. Ud. Dogmatik , 2:89).

III. Time Occupied In Creation . La Place's theory of the formation of the whole solar system is that it was originally a mass of vapory or nebulous matter, which, according to the laws of gravitation, assumed the form of an immense sphere. This sphere received from without an impulse which caused it to revolve on its axis from west to east. In consequence of the revolution, the mass became flattened at the poles and swollen in the equatorial region. In consequence of the greatness of the centrifugal force at the equator, and the contemporaneous condensation and contraction of the nebulous mass, a free revolving ring, similar to that of Saturn, detached itself in the region of the equator. This ring, not being of uniform, density, and in consequence of contraction, broke in one or more places; and these fragments, in obedience to the laws of gravitation, became spheres or planets, all revolving from west to east around the parent mass. Another ring was formed in like manner, and another planet came into existence; and so on, until the whole solar system was complete. According to this theory, not only the earth, but all the planets, existed before the sun in its present condition; and thus some of the supposed difficulties of the Mosaic cosmogony are removed (M'Caul, Aids to Faith, p. 242, 243), for it is implied in this theory that the earth existed before the sun became the luminary of the system.

In order to arrive at some conclusion harmonious at once with the results of modern science and the account of Moses, we must determine the meaning of the terms "in the beginning" and "day." The Hebrew word for "beginning," רֵאשַׁית ( Reshith ), is in the original without the definite article; so that Moses really says, "In Reshith (not in The Reshith ) Elohim created the heavens and the earth." The Septuagint, Chaldee, and Syriac versions corroborate the antiquity and correctness of this reading. Thus there is an indefiniteness of the time of creation. It may have been millions of years ago just as easily as thousands, for the Hebrew word is indefinite, and the verse reads in substance thus: "Of old, in former duration, God created the heavens and the earth." Arguing from analogy, many contend that the term "day" does not mean literally twenty-four hours. That word often signifies in the Bible undefined periods of time, as the "day of the Lord," "the day of vengeance." "that day," "the night is far spent, the day is at hand." The first day consisted of an alternation of light and darkness; but how long the night lasted, and how long the darkness until the next dawn, is not stated, The whole time of light in: which God's creative work proceeded he called "day," and the whole time of darkness he called "night." It was not a day measured by the presence of the sun's light, nor a night measured by the absence of that light. (Compare M'Caul, Aids to Faith, p. 231, 246, 47.) The name "day" is therefore regarded as given, not as a measure of extent which is a later and a subordinate idea but as denoting a wondrous phenomenon, marking the first great transition, and calling up the dual contrast which has entered into the corresponding name ever since, "God called the light day, and the darkness he called night." He called it YOM, and from that has come the lesser naming. We now indicate the gradual, developing character of the creation. It was not the work of six ordinary days, measured by twenty-four hours, but a series of supernatural growths extending over vast periods of time. (Comp. Prof. Tayler Lewis, Meth. Quart. Review, April, 1865.)

Others maintain that, while it is true that, the word "day" (q.v.) is sometimes used (e.g. in relation to the whole cosmogonal period,  Genesis 2:4) in a vague sense for an indefinite period, or for some set occasion without regard to its length, such a signification in the first chapter of Genesis is emphatically forbidden by the following explicit circumstances subjoined in the context itself:

(1) The several demiurgic days are regularly numbered "first," "second," etc., till the last making an exact and obviously literal week.

(2) Each is divided, in the usual Hebrew style, into "night" and "morning," constituting undoubtedly a Jewish Νυχθήμερον , or night-and-day, like the modern phrase "twenty-four hours."

(3) To prevent all misconception, these alternations of light and darkness are distinctly called in the same connection "night" and "day."

(4) The institution of the Sabbath is based upon the correspondence between this and each of the six preceding days in point of length. To these philological and exegetical considerations, requiring the word יוֹם to be here taken in its strictly literal sense as an actual day, might be added others derived from scientific investigations. (See Hitchcock's Elementary Geology, 3d ed., p. 283 sq., and the article (See Cosmogony). )

IV. Eras Of Creation . The Mosaic account recognizes in creation two great eras of three days each an Inorganic and an Organic. Each of these opens with the appearance of light: the first, light diffused; the second, light from the sun for the special uses of the earth. Each era ends in a day of two great works; the two shown to be distinct by being severally pronounced "good." On the third "day" that closing the Inorganic era there was, first, the dividing of the land from the waters, and afterwards the creation of vegetation, or the institution of a kingdom of life a work widely diverse from all preceding it in the era. So. on the sixth day, terminating the Organic era, there was, first, the creation of mammals, and then a second far greater work, totally new in its grandest element the creation of Man. We have, then, the following arrangement:

I. The Inorganic Era .

1st Day. Light, general.

2d Day. The earth divided from the fluid around it or in dividualized.

3d Day.

1. Outlining of the land and water.

2. Creation of vegetation.

II. The Organic Era .

4th Day. Light, direct.

5th Day. Creation of the lower orders of animals.

6th Day.

1. Creation of mammals.

2. Creation of Man.

In addition, the last day of each era included one work typical of the era, and another related to it in essential points, but also prophetic. Vegetation, while for physical reasons a part of the creation of the third day, was also prophetic of the future Organic era, in which the progress of life was the grand characteristic. The record of Moses thus accords with the fundamental principle in history, that the characteristic of an age has its beginnings within the age preceding. So, again, man, while like other mammals in structure, even to the homologies of every bone and muscle, was endowed with a spiritual nature, which looked forward to another era that of spiritual existence. The "seventh" "day" the day of rest from the work of creation is man's period of preparation for that new existence; and it is to promote this special end that, in strict parallelism, the Sabbath follows man's six days of work.

Some interpreters contend that the whole account is to be taken together; that the days are to be understood as literal days; but that the whole, how. ever, is to be interpreted as referring to a more remote period than is commonly imagined, and as not intended to describe the existing species of plants and animals, but various other species, now extinct, which have been, by subsequent convulsions of nature, destroyed, while others have been successively, by fresh acts of creation, introduced in their place."

"Another interpretation, that of Dr. J. Pye Smith in his volume on the Relations of Scripture to Geology, etc., is briefly this: the separation of the first verse he adopts as above: this refers to the original universal creation; and in the vast undefined interval an almost unlimited series of changes in the structure and products of the earth may have taken place. After this, at a comparatively recent epoch, a small portion of the earth's surface was brought into a state of disorder, ruin, and obscuration, out of which the creation of the existing species of things, with the recall of light, and the restored presence of the heavenly bodies, took place literally, according to the Mosaic narrative, in six natural days."

"Lastly, others have thought that the whole description must be taken literally as it stands; but yet, if found contradicted by facts, may, without violence to its obvious design and construction, be regarded as rather intended' for a mythic poetical composition, or religious apologue, than for a matter of fact history." (See Kitto's Jour. 3, 159; v. 186; Lit. and Theol. Rev. 4:526; New Englander, 9:510; Meth. Rev. 6:292; 12:497; De Bow's Rev. 4:177; Hitchcock's Religion and Geology, § 2; Biblioth. Sacra. 12:83, 323; 13:743; Jour. Sac. Lit. 1855; Amer. Bibl. Repos. 6:236.) (See Geology).

To sum up, there are three theories of creation:

1. The Old Orthodox View . This has been most recently defended by Keil. It claims that the world was created in six ordinary, literal days.

2. The Restitution Hypothesis . According to it, the theosophic declaration of the Tohu Va Bohu is accepted. The geological epochs which extend from the first earth-formations down to the diluvium form an incalculably long period before the creation of light, and before the other creative acts recorded in  Genesis 1:3, etc. Therefore the Mosaic six days' work is but the restitution of a preceding organic creation which had been previously many times disorganized and overwhelmed. Chalmers and Buckland were the first to advocate this hypothesis. They have been followed by Hengstenberg, Kurtz, Andr. Wagner, and partially by Delitzsch.

3. The View Of The Harmonists Or Concordists , such as Cuvier, De Serres, Hugh Miller, Ebrard, and others. They hold that the six days are periods of great indefinite length, and are therefore reconcilable with the creative epochs of geology. Parallel with these days are the long geologic formations. Schultz has just written in advocacy of this theory. His work is one of the most satisfactory and exhaustive of all the writings on this important branch of scientific theology.

See, in addition to the works already cited, Hugh Miller, Testimony of the Rocks; Dana, Manual of Geology; Riehers, Die Schoiifungsgeschichte (Leipzig, 1854, 8vo); Keerl, die Schsopfingsgeschichte u. d. Lehre vomn Parad.'es (reviewed by Warren, Bibliotheca Sacra, Oct. 1863, art. 3); Nath. Bohner, Natusforsschung u. Culturleben, 2d ed. 1863; Giov. Pianciani, Cosmogania nautrale comparata col Genesi (Roma, 1862); P, Laurent, Etudes Giologiques sur la Cosmogonie de Moise (Paris, 1863); F. H. Reusch, Bibel und Natur (Freiburg, 1862); F. Michelis, the chief advocate of the Restitution theory, in his Journal, Natur und Oqenbarung; F. W. Schultz, Die Schopfungsgeschichte nach Naturwissenschaft und Bibel (Gotha, 1865); Baltzer, Die biblische Sch Ö pfusqsgeschichte (Leips. 1867, vol. 1); Wolff, Beduutung der Weltschopfung nach Natur und Schrift (Frankfort, 1866); Zockler, in Der Beweis des Glaubens, No. 1, translated in Meth. Quart. Rev. April, 1866, art. 2; Tayler Lewis, Six Days of Creation. (See Genesis); (See Man); (See Species).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

krē̇ - ā´shun ( בּרא , bārā' "to create"; κτίσις , ktı́sis , "that which is created," "creature"):

1. Creation as Abiding

2. Mistaken Ideas

3. True Conception

4. The Genesis Cosmogony

5. Matter Not Eternal

6. "Wisdom" in Creation

7. A F ree, Personal Act

8. Creation and Evolution

9. Is Creation Eternal?

10. Creation Ex Nihilo

11. From God's Will

12. Error of Pantheism

13. First Cause A N ecessary Presupposition

14. The End - T he Divine Glory


1. Creation as Abiding

Much negative ground has been cleared away for any modern discussion of the doctrine of creation. No idea of creation can now be taken as complete which does not include, besides the world as at first constituted, all that to this day is in and of creation. For God creates not being that can exist independently of Him, His preserving agency being inseparably connected with His creative power. We have long ceased to think of God's creation as a machine left, completely made, to its own automatic working. With such a doctrine of creation, a theistic evolution would be quite incompatible.

2. Mistaken Ideas

Just as little do we think of God's creative agency, as merely that of a First Cause, linked to the universe from the outside by innumerable sequences of causes and effects. Nature in her entirety is as much His creation today as she ever was. The dynamic ubiquity of God, as efficient energy, is to be affirmed. God is still All and in All, but this in a way sharply distinguished from pantheistic views, whether of the universe as God, or of God as the universe. Of His own freedom He creates, so that Gnostic theories of natural and necessary emanation are left far behind. Not only have the "carpenter" and the "gardener" theories - with, of course, the architect or world-builder theory of Plato - been dismissed; not only has the conception of evolution been proved harmonious with creative end, plan, purpose, ordering, guidance; but evolutionary science may itself be said to have given the thought of theistic evolution its best base or grounding. The theistic conception is, that the world - that all cosmic existences, substances, events - depend upon God.

3. True Conception

The doctrine of creation - of the origin and persistence, of all finite existences - as the work of God, is a necessary postulation of the religious consciousness. Such consciousness is marked by deeper insight than belongs to science. The underlying truth is the anti-patheistic one, that the energy and wisdom - by which that, which was not, became - were, in kind, other than its own. For science can but trace the continuity of sequences in all Nature, while in creation, in its primary sense, this law of continuity must be transcended, and the world viewed solely as product of Divine Intelligence, immanent in its evolution. For God is the Absolute Reason, always immanent in the developing universe. Apart from the cosmogonic attempts at the beginning of Genesis, which are clearly religious and ethical in scope and character, the Old Testament furnishes no theoretic account of the manner and order in which creative process is carried on.

4. The Genesis Cosmogony

The early chapters of Genesis were, of course, not given to reveal the truths of physical science, but they recognize creation as marked by order, continuity, law, plastic power of productiveness in the different kingdoms, unity of the world and progressive advance. The Genesis cosmogony teaches a process of becoming, as well as a creation (see Evolution ). That cosmogony has been recognized by Haeckel as meritoriously marked by the two great ideas of separation or differentiation, and of progressive development or perfecting of the originally simple matter. The Old Testament presents the conception of time-worlds or successive ages, but its real emphasis is on the energy of the Divine Word, bringing into being things that did not exist.

5. Matter Not Eternal

The Old Testament and the New Testament, in their doctrine of creation, recognize no eternal matter before creation. We cannot say that the origin of matter is excluded from the Genesis account of creation, and this quite apart from the use of bārā' , as admitting of material and means in creation. But it seems unwise to build upon Genesis passages that afford no more than a basis which has proved exegetically insecure. The New Testament seems to favor the derivation of matter from the non-existent - that is to say, the time-worlds were due to the effluent Divine Word or originative Will, rather than to being built out of God's own invisible essence. So the best exegesis interprets  Hebrews 11:3 .

6. "Wisdom" in Creation

In Old Testament books, as the Psalms, Proverbs, and Jeremiah, the creation is expressly declared to be the work of Wisdom - a Wisdom not disjoined from Goodness, as is yet more fully brought out in the Book of Job. The heavens declare the glory of God, the world manifests or reveals Him to our experience, as taken up and interpreted by the religious consciousness. The primary fact of the beginning of the time-worlds - the basal fact that the worlds came into being by the Word of God - is something apprehensible only by the power of religious faith, as the only principle applicable to the case ( Hebrews 11:3 ). Such intuitive faith is really an application of first principles in the highest - and a truly rational one (see Logos ). In creation, God is but expressing or acting out the conscious Godhood that is in Him. In it the thought of His absolute Wisdom is realized by the action of His perfect Love. It is philosophically necessary to maintain that God, as the Absolute Being, must find the end of creation in Himself. If the end were external to, and independent of, Him, then would He be conditioned thereby.

7. A F ree, Personal Act

What the religious consciousness is concerned to maintain is, the absolute freedom of God in the production of the universe, and the fact that He is so much greater than the universe that existence has been by Him bestowed on all things that do exist. The Scriptures are, from first to last, shot through with this truth. Neither Kant nor Spencer, from data of self-consciousness or sense-perception, can rise to the conception of creation, for they both fail to reach the idea of Divine Personality. The inconceivability of creation has been pressed by Spencer, the idea of a self-existent Creator, through whose agency it has been made, being to him unthinkable. As if it were not a transparent sophism, which Spencer's own scientific practice refuted, that a hypothesis may not have philosophical or scientific valuee, because it is what we call unthinkable or inconceivable. As if a true and sufficient cause were not enough, or a Divine act of will were not a vera causa . Dependent existence inevitably leads thought to demand existence that is not dependent.

8. Creation and Evolution

Creation is certainly not disproved by evolution, which does not explain the origin of the homogeneous stuff itself, and does not account for the beginning of motion within it. Of the original creative action, lying beyond mortal ken or human observation, science - as concerned only with the manner of the process - is obviously in no position to speak. Creation may, in an important sense, be said not to have taken place in time, since time cannot be posited prior to the existence of the world. The difficulties of the ordinary hypothesis of a creation in time can never be surmounted, so long as we continue to make eternity mean simply indefinitely prolonged time. Augustine was, no doubt, right when, from the human standpoint, he declared that the world was not made in time, but with time. Time is itself a creation simultaneous with, and conditioned by, world-creation and movement. To say, in the ordinary fashion, that God created in time, is apt to make time appear independent of God, or God dependent upon time. Yet the time-forms enter into all our psychological experience, and a concrete beginning is unthinkable to us.

9. Is Creation Eternal?

The time-conditions can be transcended only by some deeper intuition than mere logical insight can supply - by such intuitive endeavor, in fact, as is realized in the necessary belief in the self-existent God If such an eternal Being acts or creates, He may be said to act or create in eternity; and it is legitimate enough, in such wise, to speak of His creative act as eternal. This seems preferable to the position of Origen, who speculatively assumed an eternal or unbeginning activity for God as Creator, because the Divine Nature must be eternally self-determined to create in order to the manifestation of its perfections. Clearly did Aquinas perceive that we cannot affirm an eternal creation impossible, the creative act not falling within our categories of time and space. The question is purely one of God's free volition, in which - and not in "nothing" - the Source of the world is found.

10. Creation Ex Nihilo

This brings us to notice the frequently pressed objection that creation cannot be out of nothing, since out of nothing comes nothing. This would mean that matter is eternal. But the eternity of matter, as something other than God, means its independence of God, and its power to limit or condition Him. We have, of course, no direct knowledge of the origin of matter, and the conception of its necessary self-existence is fraught with hopeless difficulties and absurdities. The axiom, that out of nothing nothing comes, is not contradicted in the case of creation. The universe comes from God; it does not come from nothing. But the axiom does not really apply to the world's creation, but only to the succession of its phenomena. Entity does not spring from non-entity. But there is an opposite and positive truth, that something presupposes something, in this case rather some One - aliquis rather than aliquid .

11. From God's Will

It is enough to know that God has in Himself the powers and resources adequate for creating, without being able to define the ways in which creation is effected by Him. It is a sheer necessity of rational faith or spiritual reason that the something which conditions the world is neither ὕλη , húlē , nor elemental matter, but personal Spirit or originative Will. We have no right to suppose the world made out of nothing, and then to identify, as Erigena did, this "nothing" with God's own essence. What we have a right to maintain is, that what God creates or calls into being owes its existence to nothing save His will alone, Ground of all actualities. Preëxistent Personality is the ground and the condition of the world's beginning.

12. Error of Pantheism

In this sense, its beginning may be said to be relative rather than absolute. God is always antecedent to the universe - its prius , Cause and Creator. It remains an effect, and sustains a relation of causal dependence upon Him. If we say, like Cousin, that God of necessity creates eternally, we run risk of falling into Spinozistic pantheism, identifying God, in excluding from Him absolute freedom in creation, with the impersonal and unconscious substance of the universe. Or if, with Schelling, we posit in God something which is not God - a dark, irrational background, which original ground is also the ground of the Divine Existence - we may try to find a basis for the matter of the universe, but we are in danger of being merged - by conceptions tinged with corporeity - in that form of pantheism to which God is but the soul of the universe.

The universe, we feel sure, has been caused; its existence must have some ground; even if we held a philosophy so idealistic as to make the scheme of created things one grand illusion, an illusion so vast would still call for some explanatory Cause. Even if we are not content with the conception of a First Cause, acting on the world from without and antecedently in time, we are not yet freed from the necessity of asserting a Cause. An underlying and determining Cause of the universe would still need to be postulated as its Ground.

13. First Cause a Necessary Presupposition

Even a universe held to be eternal would need to be accounted for - we should still have to ask how such a universe came to be. Its endless movement must have direction and character imparted to it from some immanent ground or underlying cause. Such a self-existent and eternal World-Ground or First Cause is, by an inexorable law of thought, the necessary correlate of the finitude, or contingent character of the world. God and the world are not to be taken simply as cause and effect, for modern metaphysical thought is not content with such a mere ens extra-mundanum for the Ground of all possible experience. God, self-existent Cause of the ever-present world and its phenomena, is the ultimate Ground of the possibility of all that is.

14. The End - T he Divine Glory

Such a Deity, as causa sui , creatively bringing forth the world out of His own potence, cannot be allowed to be an arbitrary resting-place, but a truly rational Ground, of thought. Nor can His Creation be allowed to be an aimless and mechanical universe: it is shot through with end or purpose that tends to reflect the glory of the eternal and personal God, who is its Creator in a full and real sense. But the Divine. action is not dramatic: of His working we can truly say, with  Isaiah 45:15 , "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself." As creation becomes progressively disclosed to us, its glory, as revealing God, ought to excite within us an always deeper sense of the sentiment of  Psalm 8:1 ,  Psalm 8:9 , "O Yahweh our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" See also Anthropology; Earth; World .


James Orr, Christian View of God and the World , 1st edition, 1893; J. Iverach, Christianity and Evolution , 1894; S. Harris, God the Creator and Lord of All , 1897; A. L. Moore, Science and the Faith , 1889; B. P. Bowne, Studies in Theism , new edition, 1902; G. P. Fisher, Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief , new edition, 1902; J. Lindsay, Recent Advances in Theistic Philosophy of Religion , 1897; A. Dorner, Religionsphilosophie , 1903; J. Lindsay, Studies in European Philosophy , 1909; O. Dykes, The Divine Worker in Creation and Providence , 1909; J. Lindsay, The Fundamental Problems of Metaphysics , 1910.

Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia [16]

  1. Date . The date of creation cannot be determined. The first Statement of the book of Genesis places the time in remote and Impenetrable antiquity.
  2. Creator . The writer of Genesis offers no proof of the existence Of Jehovah or of the fact that all things were made by Him. ( Genesis 1:1,2;  John 1:1-3;  Colossians 1:15-17;  Hebrews 1:10;  Hebrews 11:3 ).
  3. Light . The process of creation had probably been going on for Ages before light was created by the fiat of Jehovah ( Genesis 1:1,3;  2 Corinthians 4:4 ).
  4. Days of Creation . The fact that the creative work had been going On for unnumbered ages, leads the reverent student to the conclusion That the "days" were ordinary periods of twenty-four hours each, and That each product of Almighty power was finished and appointed to its Sphere on its designated day. The phrase "evening and morning" occurs Six times in the first account of creation, and it cannot be understood Except in the light of the above statement.
  5. Order of Creation .
    1. Light,
    2. Firmament,
    3. Vegetation,
    4. Sun, moon, and stars,
    5. Water animals and fowls,
    6. Land animals, man--woman.

    Observe the steady march from the lower to the higher, from the Insensate to the intelligent, from the servitor to the sovereign. See The universe by God's hand touched to harmony; see the march of Creative power to its culmination in the making of the companion for Man, pure and innocent, the highest image of God, and hear the stars Sing together and the sons of God shout for joy over the completion of The mighty and glorious work!