Doctrine of Creation: Timeline of Creation
March 28, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Scripture: Genesis 1
Scripture Reading -> Genesis 1
Last week we discussed:
- The elements and conditions that were in existence prior to creation in order that creation might happen.
Do you remember what elements were necessary to be in existence for creation to occur?
No? Good, because there were none.
God created everything that exists…
“through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God so that the things which are seen were not made of the things which do appear” - Hebrews 11:3
We discussed -> The connection between creation itself and God.
God’s substance is absolutely distinct from the created universe.
- Creation is not a part of God.
- God is not a part of Creation.
God is not dependent upon his own creation for existence.
- God is completely independent of his creation.
Creation is entirely dependent upon God…namely, upon Christ.
- Creation is not autonomous. (independent, self-governing)
- There is no such thing as “Mother Nature.”
- The universe does not balance itself out.
We discussed -> How creation is sustained and continues to exist.
Creation is upheld by the Word of God (Hebrews 1:3)
“Who being the brightness of his glory. and the express image of his person and upholding all things by the word of his power when he hath made by himself purged our sins set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
- Creation would cease to exist if God would remove his power from creation.
- Creation (all things in it) is being upheld by the word of His power.
- Creation (each and everything in it) is held by the power of His word.
Today, we are going to continue our discussion of the Doctrine of Creation and look at the timing of Creation.
As should be expected, we will turn to Genesis 1.
Let’s quickly see what we can learn from just the first few sentences:
- “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
- The “beginning” is to be understood plainly and literally.
- There are no allegorical or typological implications in the passage.
- The “beginning” is a reference to the concept of time and space.
- Not the beginning of God
- God always exists eternally.
- But the beginning of creation
- Not the beginning of God
- The passage plainly teaches that God is the Creator.
- The passage contains nothing suggesting anything other than the literal interpretation of scripture.
Thus we examine the timing of creation using a literal, interpretive approach.
- This is in accordance with Genesis 1, as we just discussed.
- This follows the principles of hermeneutics.
- This follows the historical grammatical method.
- This must be a literal account unless something indicates otherwise.
- That it might be a typology
- That it might be an allegory
- That it might be some type of an extended metaphor
- But there is no indication of anything other than a literal one
A Literal 6-Days of Creation – Two Parts
Furthermore, this is in accordance with the definition of the word day.
The first thing we see is that the day is divided into two parts.
We see the defining of the concept of time.
God divides the light from the darkness.
- God calls the light day,
- God calls the darkness night
A Literal 6-Days of Creation – A Day’s Boundary
The procession, the boundary of the days is explained.
“as the morning and the evening”
The timing of the day is a pattern established in this passage of creation.
A day is defined as the time-period in which God works.
- The day is of the Lord.
- The night is of the Lord.
- He has made the summer and the winter.
- And the measuring of time between summer and winter is in days…
- A day consists of two elements: day and night.
“God said Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years and let them be lights in the firmament of the have to give light upon the earth. And it was so.”
A Literal 6-Days of Creation – A Day’s Boundary
The purpose of the light is to rule the day
The purpose of the night is to rule the night.
The purpose of night & day together is to understand the seasons, days, years
- There is the account of the stars.
- There is the account of the sun.
- There is the account of the moon.
- God measures the expanse of a day using the word morning and evening.
- Each day has only one evening and morning.
A Literal 6-Days of Creation – A Day’s Structure
The Scriptures teach the basic principle, and structure of ~24-hour period.
“While the earth remainth at seed time and harvest and cold and heat and summer and winter and day and night shall not cease.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law that he meditates day and night.”
“The sun to rule by day for his mercy, mercy endures forever.”
“Day and night they go about it upon the walls there of mischief also in sorrow or in the midst of it.”
A Literal 6-Days of Creation – Meaning of “Yom”
“When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that has done upon the earth for also there is that neither day or night see its sleep with the as day not day time night.
This is in accordance with the usage of the word “day” -- Hebrew word “yom”
It occurs more than 2,200 times in the Old Testament.
The overwhelming meaning designates an ordinary, daily cycle.
Now, when attempting to determine the meaning of a word, we do not always default to what it meant in another passage. We always must take the context of the passage in consideration.
But, the preponderance of the usage is a strong argument for its meaning.
This is similar to the repeated usage and normal usage and meaning of the phrase “and the evening and morning” used together.
This phrase is never used to indicate a passage of weeks, months, or years….
A studious person could find another 30 verses in the Scripture where the phrase “morning and evening” are used to reference an ordinary day.
Exodus 18:13; 27:21
Additionally, there are more than 400 cases in the Old Testament where the word “yom” is used in direct connection with a number…to indicate a grouping of days…it is never understood to be anything other than ordinary days
Exodus 12:15; 24:16
The root of the word yom from the Hebrew means “hot” or "warm”
The word refers to the timing between sunrise to sunset.
The word “yom” that comes from the Chaldean language also means a period-of-time.
This is in accordance with the usage of Scripture.
Genesis 2:2 & Exodus 20:11
Six days God says we may work and then we are to rest upon the seventh.
As God rested when he finished created everything.
“6 days” literally means a period of 6 hot time-periods.
- or during the warmth of the day
- in which we are to work or cause others to or benefit from their work
Scriptura Scripturae interpres
Finally, remember the guidance our confession gives on interpreting Scripture:
Westminster Confession Chapter 1: Article IX
The infallible rule of interpretation of scripture is the scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture, (which is not manifold, but one,) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
Using Scripture to interpret Scripture, is just what we have done by looking at the multiple uses of the word “yom” and using the manner and methods of speaking in other parts of Scripture to help us attain the proper understanding of this section of Scripture.
So, you see, the “ordinary day”, the “yom”, is truly to be understood in the concept of a simple, calendar day
- a day to be bounded by the evening and the morning
If we were intended to understand this as a period of “ages”, there were other Hebrew words that could have been used.
But the word used here, and in other places of Scripture, is “yom.”
A single day.
Not necessarily a strict 24 hours….but nevertheless
- a single day
- bounded by the evening and the morning
This understanding ought not to be surprising.
- God writes the Scripture for us to understand.
- God writes the Scripture for us to understand Him.
- God writes the Scripture for to understand His account of creation.
- God writes the Scripture for us to understand how we relate to one another.
- God writes the Scripture for us to understand what He demands of us as His creatures.
- God writes the Scripture in a very rational way for us to understand:
- relative to the creation that He has placed us within.
God created man to live within the structure of the day.
God gave man a pattern which provides a literal understanding.
This understanding can be applied to our own lives:
- It is important for us.
- It teaches that creation is six literal day-long periods of time.
- It is relative to how we live our life.
- It is relative to how we live according to the law of God.
Warning – Dangers of an Improper Understanding
The dangers of an improper understanding of God’s purpose, order, and sequence of creation”
- One may adopt the belief that everything happens by chance.
- One may adopt the belief that everything happens by probability.
- One may adopt the belief that everything that exists is not ordered and structured.
- One may adopt the belief that the creation account is not relative to us.
- One may not understand the meaning of God's creation.
- One may begin to demonize the creation account.
- And say it is a fable or part of some other cultic belief.
- One may begin to believe that the only meaning for creation is the meaning that man gives to creation himself.
- One might get caught up in all the arguments of the time frames of creation.
- How long was it?
- How much time did God need to create?
- And miss the point:
- That God is creator.
- That His creation is relative to us.
Application & Implication to Man (AIM)
You might be inclined to respond, “What’s the big deal?”
This doesn’t impact my faith….
But it does.
The Doctrine of Creation cannot be rejected without consequence.
The evidentialist philosopher David Hume spoke of a world which exists in chaos or in a state of complex nonessentials.
He says a world is a world of chance, a meaningless something.
This is the ultimate destination when we reject the literal creation account and entertain our own self-imposed, higher-knowledge interpretations:
- Rejection leads to the creation of false philosophies.
- Rejection is the beginning of the downfall toward evolution.
- We will begin to deny that God created in literally six days.
- We will begin to deny that God is the creator.
- Which can lead the worshipping of a false God
- Rejection leads to naturalistic evolution.
- That the world evolved without any influence of the creator.
- That all existing species of plants and animals evolved from a simple form of matter.
- Rejection leads to theistic evolution.
- That God is creator only.
- But He has no direction his creation.
- But He has no control over his creation.
- This teaches the world develops through a process of evolution in which God does not intervene except in cases of absolute necessities.
- This came about as a result scientific empiricism.
- This came as a result of theologians trying to reconcile scholarship of theology with the scholarship of science.
- That God is creator only.
What sort of God is it that is unable to control His own creation??
The Doctrine of Creation is essential to the Christian faith.
It must be taken literally in sequence and in understanding.
It is necessary in order to have a proper understanding of God’s:
- sequence of creation
The Doctrine of Creation requires a Scriptural foundation.
- Christians must reject everything except what the account of Genesis 1 teaches.
- Christians reject everything except the literal understanding of God's own account of creation.
This Biblical Doctrine of Creation must be accepted by all Christians:
- So that we might be able to fulfill the commands of our God.
The Christian must accept what God teaches in the Scripture about how we are to interact in the world in which He created.
- To show that are under the authority and the crown rights of Jesus.
- To show give God glory in our being obedient to His teaching.
- To accept by faith God’s teachings.
- To do everything that is required by His law.
- To glorify God through his own work of creation.
If you can’t accept the teachings of God in the first two chapters…how on earth are you going to accept the rest of Scripture?
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