Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
A Latent Stumbling Block - Part VIII
Question 1: Are the Heavens and the Earth a united work of God (Genesis 1:1)? Were they both in existence before "the first day"? (Genesis 1:3-5 or 6-8).
A. The water and material earth existed before the "first day." How much time does the Scripture specify between Genesis1:1 and 1:3-5 or 1:1 and 1:6-8?
B. While no measurement is stated and, therefore, cannot be known, clearly "the first day" differed from the original creation in that darkness was changed to light.
Question 2: Did the creation consist of several instant happenings, when God gave the command or were there progressive steps? There were at least six happenings called "days" that happened separately and successively.
A. Read Job 38:4-16. What were the foundations versus doing other things in building the earth? This implies that this was a part of Gen 1:1 and took some time.
B. Read Isaiah 45:12. Were God’s creative works successive or done all at once?
". . have stretched out the heavens, . ." Implies a beginning followed by a time of "stretching" even as astronomers have observed by the expanding universe.
C. In Genesis 1:1-3, did the material earth exist before the ""first day of creation”? How is the ""first day"" described? Was it described as the first work of cosmic creation or simply the first change of an already existent material earth and heavens? Would the making of ""the foundations"" (Job 38:4-16) and "And the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters"" (Gen. 1:2), indicate that other work was being done before Genesis 1:9-13?
D. How does Jeremiah 10:12, 13, describe God’s creation of the heavens? As a process, for He didn’t make rain until the flood. Examine Genesis 2:5 and Genesis 7:4. Did God create, and, then develop, or was it one act? Would this imply that the heavens, the stars, and planets, had a beginning and that the hosts of heaven expanded. Even in creating humanity, did God create Adam and Eve in one act or did He create Adam, had him name all the animals, and then create Eve from Adam’s rib later in a second work of creation for her calling other than for Adam (Gen. 2:15; 3:17-19) and Eve (Gen. 2:18; 3:16).
E. What was His creative command like? When God utters His voice, how loud might it be? (Mat. 17:5, 6; Rev. 1:10-15; 21:3). Would His command to create be loud enough to possibly be called a "big bang?"
Question 3: How many days does Genesis say God took to create the heavens and earth?
Answer: Read Genesis 2:4 and decide if it indicates one, six, or more.
Question 4: How long were the days of making the earth to be a home for humans?
A. Read Genesis 1:1-2:4. In Genesis 1:5-31: approximately how many hours elapse from evening to morning? Was the day a 12 or a 24 day? From 8:00 AM. to 8:00 P.M. or was it 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 A.M.?
B. In Genesis 2:1-3, how long is the seventh day? What words describe its extent? Is it continuing? Is there a specified time period?
C. In Genesis 2:4, how long is this day of the creation of the heavens and the earth? Since this creation spans a period of time, the days of creation must be simply periods of time which are referred to by the term “day.”
D. How long is "the day of the Lord" found in Jeremiah 46:10? The context demands that "day" is simply a period of time allowing enough time for this instrument of war to occur. Therefore, Scripture uses the word "day," not as a literal 24 hours, but as just a period of time.
E. How long is the day of "Jacob’s trouble" found in Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Jeremiah 30:7, 8; 31:31- 33; Zechariah 13-14 and Revelations 7:4-14:1?
F. How long is a "day” according to Moses, the inspired writer of Genesis? According to King David in Psalm 90:1-4 and according to 2 Peter 3:8? The only choices are a 24 hour day or a 1,000 days or an undisclosed amount of time.
Question 5: In view of these uses of the word "day," how long must we interpret "day" to be in Genesis 1?
A. In view of verses 5, 8, 13, 18, 23, 31 and 2:4, it can be 12, or 24 hours or just an unspecified period of time in the context of God’s time, especially since God has shown that He does not hurry like humans to do anything.
B. In his Hebrew Lexicon, Gesenius indicates discussion that "day" is an indefinite period of time the length of which varies according to its context. For Genesis 2:4, the period is the creation of the heaven and earth (pages 341 and 342).
C. Peter the Apostle wrote clearly, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:8, 9)
Question 6: Psalm 19 points out that creation shouts God’s glory, should we not interpret it to help reveal God? Or should we insist on this recent idealistic interpretation become a destructive tool for Satan’s tool box?
A. It is well known that unbelieving teachers in secular universities use the 6/24 hour day interpretation of the creation in Genesis 1 to discredit the Bible as God‘s trustworthy Word. They use it to destroy the faith of young Christians. The teaching of a six twenty-four day creation constitutes a latent stumbling block.
Question 7: Should the Bible teacher embrace the possible, i.e. that Almighty God could have created the universe in six 24 hours days, with how He did create the universe?
Answer: Insistence upon a doctrine which is subject to interpretation when the faith of young or ungrounded believers is in the balance causes great difficulties. Christ Himself said, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Mat. 18:6)
Related reading: Stumbling Block I: A Shocking Statistic; Stumbling Block II: Contending for the Faith; Latent Stumbling Block III: A Historic Battle; Latent Stumbling Block IV: The Spiritual Battle; Latent Stumbling Block V: Satanic Strategies; Latent Stumbling Block VI: Defining Orthodoxy; Latent Orthodoxy VII: Principles Determining Interpretation