Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In the beginning God created.....what??

Many people naively assume that Genesis 1 verse 1 describes the creation of the entire universe and all the galaxies, stars, and planets, including Earth. But they are wrong.

Let's see what it actually says...

In the beginning 1  God 2  created 3  the heavens and the earth. 4
Genesis 1:1 NET
Notice the footnote next to the word 'earth'.
4 tn Or “the entire universe”; or “the sky and the dry land.” This phrase is often interpreted as a merism, referring to the entire ordered universe, including the heavens and the earth and everything in them. The “heavens and the earth” were completed in seven days (see Gen 2:1) and are characterized by fixed laws (see Jer 33:25). “Heavens” refers specifically to the sky, created on the second day (see v. 8), while “earth” refers specifically to the dry land, created on the third day (see v. 10). Both are distinct from the sea/seas (see v. 10 and Exod 20:11). 
Genesis 1:1 NET footnote 4 (emphasis mine)
So while it may be commonly interpreted as referring to the entire universe, the words "heavens" and "earth" actually refer specifically to "sky" and "dry land" respectively. As the footnote shows, these are also separate from the sees mentioned in verse 10.

The author(s) of Genesis had no knowledge of the universe as we understand it today. In their view, the sky literally contained the sun, moon, and stars. They viewed the earth as a flat disc, covered by a solid dome which they called the "firmament". The sun, moon and stars are said to be IN the firmament (verse 14 & 17), while verse 7 talks about there being water ABOVE the firmament.

v8 And God called the firmament "Heaven".
v10 And God called the dry land "Earth".

People may try to interpret verse 1 as referring to the entire universe, but to do so is to take the verse out of context and infuse it with a modern understanding of cosmology. This is bad exegesis.

Genesis 1 does not claim that God created the universe.

Don't believe me? Look it up. See for yourself.