THE creation of the earth and man

 

The general account of the work of the six days is contained in the first chapter of Genesis; while in the second is presented among other things, a more particular narrative of the work of the sixth day in the formation of the first human pair.

Let the reader peruse the history of the creation as a revelation to himself as an inhabitant of the earth. It informs him of the order in which the things narrated would have developed themselves to his view, had he been placed on some projecting rock, the spectator of the events detailed. He must remember this. The Mosaic account is not a revelation to the inhabitants of other orbs remote from the earth of the formation of the boundless universe; but to man, as a constituent of the terrestrial system. This will explain why light is said to have been created four days before the sun, moon, and stars. To an observer on the earth this was the order of their appearance; and in relation to him a primary creation, though absolutely pre-existent for millions of ages before the Adamic era …

… Fragments, however, of the wreck of this pre-Adamic world have been brought to light by geological research, to the records of which we refer the reader, for a detailed account of its discoveries, with this remark, that its organic remains, coal fields, and strata, belong to the ages before the formation of man, rather than to the era of the creation, or the Noachic flood. This view of the matter will remove a host of difficulties, which have hitherto disturbed the harmony between the conclusions of geologists and the Mosaic account of the physical constitution of our globe …

… The six days of Genesis were unquestionably six diurnal revolutions of the earth upon its axis. This is clear from the tenor of the sabbath law. “Six days shalt thou labour (O Israel) and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Would it be any fit reason that, because the Lord worked six periods of a thousand or more years each, and had ceased about two thousand until the giving of the law, therefore the Israelites were to work six periods of twelve hours, and do no work on a seventh period or day of like duration? Would any Israelite or Gentile, unspoiled by vain philosophy, come to the conclusion of the geologists by reading the sabbath law? We believe not. Six days of ordinary length were ample time for Omnipotence, with all the power of the universe at command, to re-form the earth, and to place the few animals upon it necessary for the beginning of a new order of things upon the globe …

… In the period between the wreck of the globe …. the earth was as described in Gen. 1:2, “without form and void, and darkness upon the face of the deep”—a globe of mineral structure, submerged in water, and mantled in impenetrable night. Out of these crude materials, a new habitation was constructed, and adapted to the abode of new races of living creatures. On the first day, light was caused to shine through the darkness, and disclose the face of the waters; on the second, the atmosphere called Heaven was formed, by which the fog was enabled to float in masses above the deep; on the third, the waters were gathered together into seas, and the dry land, called the Earth, appeared. It was then clothed with verdure, and with fruit and forest trees, preparatory to the introduction of herbivorous creatures to inhabit it. On the fourth day, the expanded atmosphere became transparent, and the shining orbs of the universe could be seen from the surface of the earth. Our globe was then placed in such astronomical relation to them as to be subjected by their influences to the vicissitudes of day and night, summer and winter; and that they might serve for signs, and for years. Thus, the sun, moon, and stars which God had made, by giving the earth’s axis a certain inclination to the plane of the ecliptic, became diffusive of the most genial influences over the land and sea. It was now a fit and beautiful abode for animals of every kind. The dwelling-place was perfected, well aired, and gloriously illuminated by the lights of heaven; food was abundantly provided; and the mansional estate waited only a joyous tenantry to be complete.

This was the work of the fifth and sixth days. On the fifth, fish and water-fowl were produced from the teeming waters; and on the sixth, cattle, reptiles, land-fowl, and the beasts of the earth, came out of “the dust of the ground”, male and female, after their several kinds.

But among all these there was not one fit to exercise dominion over the animal world, or to reflect the divine attributes. Therefore the Elohim said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the living creatures”. So Elohim created man in His image; male and female created He them. Further details concerning the formation of the human pair are given in the second chapter of Genesis, verses 7, 18, 21–25. These passages belong to the work of the sixth day; while that from verse 8 to 14 pertains to the record of the third; and from 15 to 17 is parallel with chapter 1:28–31, which completes the history of the sixth.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them”; and the Jehovah Elohim, on reviewing the stupendous and glorious creation elaborated by the Spirit; pronounced it “very good”. Then the Elohim or “Morning Stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy”.

Reader’s comments are invited!

 

John Thomas

Elpis Israel page 10-13 (Abridged).