The early planet earth
'Now the earth was formless and empty, and darkness was over the
surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters...'
(OT), chapter 1, verse 2)
You may be surprised to learn that there is a high
level of agreement between the Bible and modern science
regarding the sequence of events during the development
of our planet.
|Following the instant of the
creation of the universe, modern science
postulates that the early earth condensed from
into a solid sphere (a little flattened at the poles) with a molten core,
entirely covered by surface water kilometres deep, and surrounded by an
opaque atmosphere of dust and gas - devoid of land mass, light and life.
The above Bible verse also says the earth was
indeed 'dark', 'formless' and 'empty' (ie
with no life-forms), and at this time 'the Spirit of God was hovering over the
waters' (the original Hebrew uses the word 'brooding',
'Let there be light'
of an eagle spreading her wings
over her eggs until they hatch). Many Bible scholars
believe that the language used here implies an unquantified period of time.
Next in the Genesis account, God said, 'let there be
light,' and the day/night cycle began. Astute readers
may say that there must have been photons (light) in the
universe before that, but we must take into account the
'viewpoint of the observer' in any scientific
description. And in this case, the Genesis author's
viewpoint is the earth, not somewhere out in space.
So, when God commanded it, the atmosphere began to
clear of debris, the sun's light began to filter dimly
through to the surface of the earth for the first time,
and thus the (roughly) 24-hour cycle of day and night
began, instead of the previous constant unrelieved
After that (Genesis (OT) chapter 1, verse 6), the hot and cloudy,
humid atmosphere began to clear, and to allow a visible
distinction between the 'water below' (the seas covering
the surface of the earth) and the 'waters above' (the
thick, dark moisture-laden clouds). And so began the
'water cycle' you learned about at school. At this time,
according to scientists, the sky was not clear, but
light began filtering through the clouds and the
atmosphere of 100% humidity, allowing the possibility of photosynthesis... essential for plant life.
Next up (verse 9): volcanic activity produced islands
and land masses. God said, 'let the dry land appear,'
and it happened.
With dry land, and some light, photosynthesis could
begin, and vegetation sprang up. 'Let the land produce
vegetation,' commands God in verse 11.
Remember, at this time, the skies were 100% thick
cloud, so the sun was not visible; no stars could have
been seen at night. But the dramatic day came when the
sun peeped through a gap in the clouds for the first
time! And at night, countless stars could have been seen
(if anyone had been there to see them). This is
described (from the viewpoint of an earthbound observer,
of course) in
verse 14: 'Let there be lights in the
expanse of the sky...'
The Bible goes on to say that life began in the sea,
and science agrees with this, too. The Bible shows a
progression to more and more complex life, through birds
and land creatures, culminating in the creation of
Mankind. Science agrees.
What an amazingly inspired account the Bible gives
us, millennia before modern science came to
similar conclusions. It's enough to make you believe in
God! Well, it did so for me, anyway.
Next we'll look at
the different understandings held by Bible-believing
Christians about the length of a 'day' in the first
chapter of Genesis.
Next up – How long is a creation day?
Pray: Lord, as I see the wonders of the world you created,
help me to know you better, and to worship you as you deserve. Amen.
Watch the video clip The Creation, as Wintley Phipps tells the story
Watch the video clip World creation - evolution, as Homer Simpson crawls out of the sea.
Visit Reasons to Believe - a science/faith think-thank website
Read the book A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Read the book
The Genesis Question by Hugh Ross
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