The Creation Account: How Moses Taught Faith to the Jews... and Me
- Thursday, July 25, 2013
In essence the Psalmist is giving us a pictorial experience of God’s love and care—like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings when they're threatened, so God brings protection and care to His children when they are in need. The point is well made.
So back to Genesis One, where Moses declared that God is the Creator of all things. In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth. In verse two, Moses declared that God’s creation was formless and empty. What is formless needs form. What is empty needs filling.
Now notice how on days 1-3 God gave form to the formless and on days 4-6 He filled what was now formed.
By the time God gets to day seven He is able to rest because the formless has form and the empty is now filled.
- On day one God created Light and Darkness (1:3-5).
- On day two God created and separated the Sky and Waters (1:6-8).
- On day three God created dry Land and Vegetation (1:9-13).
- On day four God created the Sun, Moon and Stars (1:10-19).
- On day five God created Birds and Fish (1:20-24).
- On day six God created Animals and Man (1:25-26).
- On day seven God rested (2:2-3).
The poetical framework is now in place. The rhyming begins.
- Day one rhymes with day four. On day one He formed light and darkness. He filled it on day four with the Sun, Moon and stars.
- Day two rhymes with day five. On day two the Almighty formed sky and sea. On day five He filled the sky with birds and the waters with fish.
- Day three rhymes with day six. On day three God formed dry land and vegetation. One day six He filled dry land and vegetation with animals and man.
Be certain to notice that each of the things God created in Genesis One were things the Egyptians worshipped as gods themselves: light and darkness; sea and sky; land and vegetation; sun, moon and stars, birds and fish; and animals and man (Pharaoh and his son were 'gods').
On each of the six days of the creation story, Moses toppled one or more of the Egyptian gods.
We might say that Moses was thumbing his nose at the Egyptians, singing, "My God is better than your gods! Your gods aren't gods! My God made your gods!"
I had no doubt in my mind that when Moses wrote down Genesis One he was thinking about God the Most High vs. gods who were only idols. Consider Moses' final charge to Israel just before he died not to return to the gods of Egypt. In this passage he repeated the pantheon of gods he addressed in Genesis One:
"Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not… make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has [created]" (Deuteronomy 4:15-19).
My struggles ceased. My faith soared. No longer were seven-day creation and Science my only choices. Now that I understood Moses' intention in writing Genesis One, there was no need for both to mesh—or for my mind to be forced to choose one side or the other.
Finally, I no longer had to answer the oft-asked question, "How do dinosaurs fit into the Bible?" In this understanding of Genesis One, they don't.
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