Most recently I explained the various reasons why the days of Creation in Genesis 1 MUST be interpreted as normal, 24 hour, calendar days. But there are a couple of objections brought up by The Old Earth Creationist (OEC) model which are worth noting, mainly because they are so inadvertently funny. Like Chickens! They don’t MEAN to be funny, but I don’t care who you are, chickens are FUNNY!
The first objection comes from the combination of days one and four. About the first day, Genesis 1 says:
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
Easy enough, right? God makes light on day one. Then on day four, we read:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
If you didn’t get your PhD in Astrophysics (or maybe you were just distracted by something shiny, because believe me I can sympathize), let me clarify that for you. The greater of the great lights is the sun, and the lesser of the great lights is the moon. The stars are the stars. The text does not say so directly, but we can infer these are the stars where “Star Wars” or “Star Treks” take place.
Here is objection number one: HOW could God have made LIGHT on day one and not made the SUN until day FOUR? WHERE DID THE LIGHT COME FROM WITH NO SUN?!?!?! Thus, it is argued, that the depiction of the creation CANNOT be literal, because there would have been no light without the sun.
Response: This is an insufficient objection which has come to the scientific prom in a pink, rented tuxedo, and I will pants it before the populace as we wait for the bus after school. Or perhaps send it a terse facebook message. I haven’t decided yet.
I am seriously baffled by this objection, as the assumption upon which it is built shifts our mental image of God a step towards the realm of the Cartoon Network.
Perhaps I am reading too much into this objection, but to me it implies that God spends three days saying things like, “Does anyone know where I put the socket wrench? I can’t see anything around here. I wish we hadn’t scheduled the sun for day four, because I could REALLY use some light while I’m working!” And I don’t want to sound like a fundamentalist, but I’m pretty sure all of that is something God never needed to say.
As I write this, it is night time. The sun has set many hours ago, and yet, I can still see things around the room because there is still light in here. You may think I am lying, but I assure you it is true! With no use of magic or the supernatural, I am able to see items far across the room even though the sun provides no light by which to see. HOW? you ask. Because of the AMAZING “Edison Electric Light!” Contained within a bulb of glass is the technology to transform the energy from moving electrons into visible light! SCIENCE!
All sarcasm aside, if we can figure out how to make light without the sun, don’t you think GOD- the all knowing, all powerful creator of all things- could figure out a source of light which is also not the sun? I suspect he could have done so with very little effort on his part and-follow me here- without excessive use of fossil fuels. I think He could have done it.
This does nothing to call into question the historical account of the Creation. What it does is hint as some assumed limitations which the OEC model imposes on God. I guess it implies the thought, “OK, God is smarter than us, but it took mankind THOUSANDS of years to invent the light bulb. We just don’t think He could have done it on the first DAY! A few months in, if He wasn’t too distracted by other responsibilities, sure…”
The next objections come from events which are supposed to take much longer than a single day, and thus, it is argued, those days cannot be literal days:The third day, and the sixth day. Like above, there are some unspoken assumptions about limitations God seem to have in the OEC model. Day number three goes like this:
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.
Day Three Objection to Literal days: The OEC model will argue that the events described here MUST take much MUCH longer than a single day, and thus these cannot be actual days. After all, it takes a LONG time for plants to grow, and flower, and make fruit, etc. etc. Right? Thus, these days CANNOT be literal days.
Response: Apparently by the time PhD’s like Huge Ross (OEC) get to day three, they have already forgotten the first verse. Let me remind you how it starts; “In the beginning, GOD…” In fact, just for those people with such short memories, verse 11 reminds you who is working here. It’s God. Do we really think there is reason to believe that God HAS the power to bring the universe into being, merely by commanding it so, but not the power to make plants without waiting? I’m not sure the details of this objection, but it seems as if this model claims God was able to make some seeds but not trees, and so was forced to wander the earth planting them like some Divine, Cosmic Johnny Appleseed. Apparently people like Dr. Ross picture God waiting around for it to rain, then maybe stopping by now and then to weed? I’ve not heard Dr. Ross’s model spelled out quite so clearly.
I do know that Dr Ross doesn’t believe the plants grew in the dark for millions of years. They argue that, while the text clearly SAYS God made the sun on day four, what it means is he made the sun on day ONE and then pulled back some kind of cloud cover on day four to REVEAL the sun. So, I guess all of those plants from day three were all perfectly content to grow in overcast conditions for a few million years? Again, I’m note sure how the whole story goes there. I suspect they think the text MUST imply seeds growing to maturity over a long time, because it says, “The land produced vegetation,” but if that is the case, what the heck do they think was happening on day six when it says, And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.”? Do they think God is planting cow seeds and waiting for them to grow as well? I’m fairly sure there never was such thing as “cow seeds,” which all things considered is a shame. I’d love to see a field of beasts of the field.
Maybe that’s why they’re CALLED “Beasts of the Field!” Just imagine planting a field of giraffes! That would be AMAZING!
To sum up day three, let’s all agree that the Bible does give evidence that, were God to WANT plants without planting seeds and waiting around the normal time for them to all grow to maturity as we do today, he could probably make that happen. He can do things we cannot do. On the other hand, He can also do the things we CAN do, such as making light without the sun.
Next time we’ll examine more objections stemming from naming all the inmates at the petting zoo. And as always, thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.