The opening phrase in the Torah or Genesis 1.1 in Hebrew is “B’raisheet bara”. The most popular translation is the rendering of “In the beginning”. This would of course give one the belief that the creation account is chronological and meant to be literal. While many believe this to be the case one only needs to read the next few sentences to clearly see that it is not chronological at all. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. ” (Genesis 1:2) In reading this sentence literally one can find that water had existed prior to the first creation command of “Let there be light”.
So when did God create water? Well, the Bible does not say anything about God creating water. The Bible only says that God separated the water – “And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the second day. And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:6-11) So, you see the water existed before the creation account began because the creation account only discusses God separating the waters. Does this make the account incomplete? No, the very first verse of the Bible after all does say that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth“. (Genesis 1:1) The rest of the account and the several chapters that follow are not intended to be literal and are a brilliant series of allegory. Rational thought and basic science when applied to the creation account of the Bible can help one peel the layers into what is really being taught.
The lessons are:
- The creation account is really a lesson of symmetry and order.
- The story of Adam and Eve is a lesson in the gift and dangers of free-will.
- The story of Cain and Abel is a story that shows how evil man has the potential to be. (There is nothing worse than murder.)
- The story of Noah and the flood teaches how one must stand strong even when they are alone and amongst a sea of temptation and doubt.
The Creation Account (Genesis 1:1-2:3)
The creation account is split into 3 parts. The first 3 days are for forming, the second 3 days were for filling and the seventh day was for resting. The 6 days are symmetrically divided into 2 parts and another layer of symmetry exists in that day 1 and 4 dealt with light, day 2 and 5 dealt with water, day 3 and 6 dealt with the ground. The seventh day is separate from the other 6 and it is a day that stands alone. The day of rest or Sabbath.
Was the earth created in 6 days? No, not likely. That is not the purpose of this part of the Bible. This is all an allegory with a message that is concealed ever so cleverly within the text. While everyone interprets these words in their own way I have found that when you peel the dogmatic layer off you can see that this is an allegory that exemplifies everyone’s life. Our typical day, week, lifetime and how we should balance them are described. A person’s day should consist of planning and preparing (the first 3 days), action and execution (the second 3 days), and then resting (the seventh day). A person’s lifetime consists of childhood when they learn and grow (the first 3 days), then adulthood when they work and raise a family (the second 3 days), and then death when they have eternal rest (the seventh day).
The separation of 2 sets of 3 days when the second set of days is the completion of the first set shows us that all things have their time and that our pace should be managed and steady. All things are to be done in their due time and after all preparations have been made. To relate this to a basic life situation – you can’t wear clothes until you buy them and you can’t buy them until someone has made them. This then exposes the law of ebb and flow. The ramifications to not following this order can be shown in yet another simple life situation. You are a sales rep and are about to do a presentation for a prospect. You get there and you have nothing to present because you did not plan or prepare the presentation.
What about that seventh day? It is isolated from the other six. The other 6 are in 2 sets of 3 that have matching pairs across the sets. So why the seventh day? It’s because of the ever importance of resting. Isn’t it just a little odd that one of the most blatant points in the creation account – the day of rest – is something many of us never do? So many people work every day all day until they work themselves into being physically sick. Rest is not to be considered a luxury, it is not to be considered a “nice to have”. It is absolutely critical to ones mental and physical health. Without proper rest comes a wide array of health issues and decreased mental capabilities. When was the last time you took a full day off of working? Could our Creator have known all along that we would neglect this requirement? Yes, and that’s why the seventh day is completely separated from the rest.
© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light