We saw in the last two installments of this series that “in the beginning” God created the heavens and the earth, but that Satan’s rebellion caused the earth to become void and empty. We also showed that God restored the surface of the earth within six days. In addition, as we will see today, He also brought some order into the chaotic condition of the earth’s atmosphere and the universe which had become affected as well by Satan’s rebellion.
Some claim that Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17 show that God created the universe and the earth, including man, within six days; and that there was no time gap and no catastrophe between His initial creation of the heavens and the earth and the creation of modern animals and man.
We read in Exodus 20:11:
“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day….”
Also, we read in Exodus 31:17:
“… for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested…”
However, rightly understood, these passages do not state that God created heavens and earth, including modern man, within six days.
Genesis 1:1 records that in the beginning, God “created” (Hebrew “bara”) the heavens and the earth. However, in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, we read that He “made” (Hebrew “asah”) the heavens and the earth. In many cases, the word “create” describes an act of bringing something into existence, which did not exist before, while the word “made” refers to the prior existence of something which is “formed” into a certain recognizable appearance. For instance, God “created” man (Genesis 1:27; 5:2; 6:7), but He also “made” man (Genesis 1:26), and He “formed” man (Genesis 2:7). These three terms are not identical, as some suggest, but they express three different aspects of God’s actions. God “created” man—that is, no man existed prior to this; but He also “made” him from pre-existing “material” (the dust of the ground), and He “formed” him from that dust to give him a certain appearance. Later God “made” (literally “built”) Eve from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2:22). In other words, the dust of the ground existed before Adam was made from it, and Adam’s rib existed before Eve was made from it.
On the other hand, nothing physical existed when God “created” the heavens and the earth. Rather, God brought the physical heavens (the universe) and the earth into existence at that time (Hebrews 11:3).
When we read in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 that God “made” the heavens and the earth in six days, the reference is to the RENEWAL of the earth’s surface after Satan’s rebellion, as well as the renewal of the earth’s atmosphere (the first heaven) and apparently a certain renewal or restoration of order for the universe which had also suffered turmoil due to Satan’s rebellion. (Meteorites and asteroids, as well as stars which exploded millions of years ago might give testimony to the fact that the universe suffered some destruction, even though God had not created it that way.) God speaks of three heavens—the first heaven describes the earth’s atmosphere with its clouds and birds; the second heaven refers to the universe with its many galaxies, suns and planets; and the third heaven refers to the spiritual heaven of God, where He and His angels dwell. In this regard and for further explanation, please see our Q&A on the three heavens.
As an aside, we stated in that Q&A that the “third heaven is, according to the Bible, located ‘on the farthest sides of the north.’ Lucifer described his plan to dethrone God in this way, in Isaiah 14:13-14, ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne [here on earth] above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High [or, I will be the Most High.’ We also read that ‘promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south’ (Psalm 75:6, Authorized Version). Rather, it comes from the north — from God’s dwelling place in the third heaven.”
God renewed—“made”—the earth in six days by giving it the topography, form and appearance (with mountains, oceans etc.), which it generally still has today.
We read in Genesis 1:7 that God “made” the firmament by dividing “the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament,” as He had divided earlier the light from the darkness (verse 4). All of these “divisions” and their exact meaning are explained in our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution—A Fairy Tale for Adults?” In short, Satan’s rebellion had caused the earth to be covered with water (verse 2), and it had also brought darkness on the earth due to the dust and debris (verse 4). Conditions had to be restored which made the earth’s atmosphere breathable and the earth’s surface habitable for plants, animals and men.
To repeat, God renewed the surface of the earth, and He renewed or “made” the first heaven in six days, in that He removed the dust and debris from the atmosphere and “made” it breathable for physical beings.
But since we read that God “made” – not “created”– the heavens (plural) in six days, He did not only create or restore conditions pertaining to the first heaven—the earth’s atmosphere—but He also dealt with the second heaven—the universe. He restored some order in and to the universe, as we read that Jesus Christ upholds or sustains the universe today by His mighty word (Hebrews 1:3). The Living Bible translates this passage as follows: “He regulates the universe by the mighty power of his command.” The Revised English Bible states that “he sustains the universe by his word of power.”
Jeremiah 31:35 adds that God gives the sun for a light by day and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,” showing again God’s involvement in the universe. David was amazed about the stars which God had created and some of which he could observe in a clear night (Psalm 8:3-4), stating that God counts them all by name (Psalm 147:4). Isaiah adds that God “BRINGS OUT their host by number” (40:26).
However, there is no biblical evidence to suggest that God had ever created physical life anywhere else but on planet earth.
Genesis 2:4 distinguishes between the original creation of the heavens and the earth and subsequent events. We read in the Authorized Version: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”
Commentaries rightly point out that in this instance, “in the day” does not refer to a 24 hour day, but it designates an unidentified time span. It describes the time when God “made” or renewed the surface of the earth and the earth’s atmosphere (the first heaven), and when He brought back order to the universe (the second heaven). Two different times are described in Genesis 2:4: First, God “created the heavens and the earth”—as we know, this occurred “in the beginning”—but then, at a later time, He “made” them—that is, He gave them or restored the form, appearance and ordered structure which they basically have today. The Revised English Bible renders Genesis 2:4-5 as follows: “This is the story of the heavens and the earth AFTER their creation. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, there was neither shrub nor plant growing on the earth, because the LORD God had sent no rain…”
The New Scofield Reference Edition explains that there is no discrepancy between the events described in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, stating:
“It is often said that Genesis 2:4-25 is a second account of creation differing from that in Genesis 1:1-2:3. In point of fact, however, Genesis 1 tells of the creation of the whole universe, including man and woman; while Genesis 2 specifically describes the origin of man and woman without repeating the story of the creation [and renewal] recorded in Genesis 1.”
We read in Genesis 1:21 that God “created” great sea creatures and birds—showing that many of those types of animals did not exist before. Most “modern” animals of the post-Adamic time are generally quite different from many of the animals which existed prior to Adam. As will be explained below, this does not HAVE to mean that God did not create any dinosaur-type animals when He renewed the earth. We do not know whether these were similar to those dinosaurs which had existed before Adam and which became extinct. In any event, God would not have created violent animals at the time of Adam. We do read, however, that subsequent to Adam’s sin, some animals became wild and aggressive, as we discussed before.
In our Q&A on “sea monsters,” we explained the following:
“… the Bible has much to say about a creature called, ‘Leviathan.’ This animal clearly existed at the time of Job, and is described, in detail, in the 41st chapter of the book of Job… Psalm 74:14 says that God ‘broke the HEADS of Leviathan in pieces, And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.’ Some might want to dismiss this passage as simply mythological, claiming that no known animal existed or exists with more than one head. This claim is not necessarily accurate. Even today, sometimes animals, due to mutation or birth defects, are born with more than one head, so there is no reason to believe that the passage in Psalm 74 must be understood in a mythological, rather than a literal way.
“Psalm 104:25-26 clearly identifies Leviathan as a real, living water animal, co-existing with man: ‘… The great and wide sea, In which are innumerable teeming things, Living things both small and great. There are ships sail about; There is that Leviathan Which You have made to play there.’
“There are additional biblical passages which might refer to Leviathan and/or other unidentified ‘sea monsters’… An interesting statement can… be found in Isaiah 27:1: ‘In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.’… in Ezekiel 32:2, God compares the Pharaoh of Egypt with a young lion AND with a ‘monster in the seas, Bursting forth in your rivers, Troubling the waters with your feet, And fouling the rivers.’
“… the fact that God compares world powers or individuals with Leviathan and other sea creatures suggests that those creatures exist. God compares Pharaoh with a lion AND with a monster in the sea. Since lions are real animals, it is reasonable to conclude that that particular sea monster exists as well. Also, God speaks in the same context of Leviathan as the fleeing serpent and the twisted serpent, AND of the reptile in the sea. We all know that reptiles exist. Why would God mention Leviathan in the same context, if THAT creature was only mythological or allegorical?”
This sea monster would have been created by God at the time of Adam, and since it lived in the sea, it would have survived Noah’s Flood. Other “monsters” might have been re-created at the time of Adam as well. For instance, the Bible speaks about another creature in the book of Job, called “Behemoth.” Some have suggested that Leviathan and Behemoth describe a crocodile and a hippopotamus. But this is definitely not correct. The margin of the New King James Bible admits that Behemoth is “a large animal, exact identity unknown,” and that Leviathan is a “large sea creature, exact identity unknown.”
In our Q&A on Moses’ staff, we said the following:
“… it was Aaron’s staff which became a ‘serpent’ before Pharaoh and which swallowed up the ‘serpents’ of the magicians (Exodus 7:9-12). We should note that the ‘serpent’ in the episode with the burning bush is NOT the same kind of creature as the ‘serpent’ in the episode with Aaron and Pharaoh… Friedman, Commentary on the Torah points out on page 11, the word used in the latter episode is ‘tannin’ and describes ‘some giant serpentlike creatures that were formed at [re-]creation… Later, Aaron’s staff (and the Egyptian magicians’ staffs) turns into such a creature (not merely a snake!) at the Egyptian court.’
“In fact, the meaning of the word ‘tannin’ is ‘dragon.’ Friedman adds on page 192 that Aaron’s staff turned into a serpent. ‘Not a snake. This is different from the snake (Hebrew nahas or nachash) that Moses’ staff became in Exodus 4:3. Moses performed the miracle for the Israelite elders (4:30). Now, in front of Pharaoh, Aaron’s staff becomes a “tannin.” This is the term that is used for the big sea serpents that God makes on the fifth day of [re-]creation (Gen. 1:21). They are not merely snakes, as people have often pictured them. They are extraordinary creatures…’”
If Leviathan and Behemoth, amongst other “serpents” or “dragons,” are in fact unidentified dinosaur-like creatures which God created at the time of Adam, then this would explain why sometimes bones of human remains and of dinosaur-like animals are allegedly found together, if these claims are true and if the scientific explanations are indeed correct in regard to such findings. They would not prove that God created the heavens and the earth in six days, when He created man, but they would show that after God renewed the surface of the earth, He did create some dinosaur-type creatures. A few of those creatures might have still existed at the times of Job and Moses. And, some of them might even still exist today—or did so very recently–in very secluded areas or in the murky, dark and inaccessible waters of some lakes or the oceans.
Nowhere do we read in the Bible that God created the universe and the earth within six days; nor, that God’s physical creation occurred only about 6,000 years ago. Rather, we read that God created the heavens and the earth “in the beginning”—whenever that “beginning” was. It could have been millions or even billions of years ago.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link