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PhotoDrama of Creation
"The reverence of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom." Only the foolish say in their heart, "There is no God." "Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." "The heavens declare the glory of God."--Psalms 111:10; 14:1; 19:1,2
An appreciation of the infinite Power of the Creator and of our own littleness should make us teachable. The study of Creation is the "Key of Knowledge." Using this Key we begin to realize that the only worthy ambition is to co-operate with our Creator's beneficient designs respecting His Creation.
The planets of our System compared with our Sun are as nothing. Imagine the Sun's diameter that of a large flour barrel: Jupiter would compare as a small orange, Earth and Venus as peas, and Mercury and Mars as raspberry seeds.
The Sun is three hundred thousand times the size of our Earth. A train at thirty miles an hour could go around the Earth in one month, but three hundred and forty years would be required for it to travel the circumference of the Sun.
Our day and night are the result of the Earth's rotation on its own axis, while its motion around the Sun marks our year. Planets nearer the Sun have shorter orbits, and hence, shorter years, while remote ones have longer years. A year on the planet Mercury would equal three of our months. On Neptune, farthest off, a year equals 164 of Earth's years.
Yet our Sun is only one of the fixed stars, of which the most up-to-date astronomical methods estimate there are one hundred and twenty-five millions. Around each of these fixed stars undoubtedly revolves a planetary System like our own. Thus reckoned, there are one thousand million worlds. Even this is not the limit. If we should stand upon the farthest and dimmest star, we should no doubt from there see as many more beyond. We are appalled at the greatness of the Universe.
The zodiacal signs illustrate various sections of the heavens, visible at different seasons.
The Genesis account tells nothing about the formation of the Earth itself. It says, "In the beginning the Earth was--without form and void"--shapeless, empty. There were neither mountains nor valleys, trees nor shrubs, rivers nor oceans, but the Earth was. How long before that it had been created, is not stated. The account of the Days of Creation given in Genesis relates not to the construction of our globe, but to the ordering of it for human habitation.
There are various theories regarding its formation. We follow the one most closely harmonizing with the Bible. It is called the Vailian theory. It assumes that Saturn's rings and Jupiter's belts illustrate Earth's development as a planet.
The Earth was once molten, as indicated by the igneous rocks of the Azoic period: so called by scientists, but not discussed in the Bible. When the Earth was molten, its water and minerals were thrown off a great distance in gaseous form. As these cooled and took shape, they constituted great rings at a distance from the Earth.
Gradually the motion of the rings became different from that of the Earth in proportion to the distance from the center of gravity. These rings of water and mineral gradually approaching the Earth would be kept off by centrifugal force, particularly strong at the equator. The "brooding" of Holy Energy developed a light, probably resembling the Aurora Borealis--not sunlight. The Sun did not appear until the Fourth Day.
"Let there be light! and there was light." Thus, briefly, is summed up the result of the 7,000 years, styled the First Day. Not that God's Word would not have been sufficient for any miracle, but because He prefers to work out His glorious designs along natural lines.--Genesis 1:3.
There are scientists who claim that the Earth still has one ring about it, an electrical ring which, falling, will in a few years destroy fermentation, microbes and parasites, and greatly assist plant and animal life.
The expressions "evening and morning" and "day" cannot be understood to signify twenty-four-hour days, for neither Sun nor Moon was visible until the Fourth Day. The Earth was swathed in impenetrable darkness.
The word "day" applies to any period, or Epoch, as for instance, the "Day of temptation in the wilderness"--forty years. (Psalms 95:8.) Note again, that we read of the "Day of Christ," evidently referring to the thousand-year Day in which Messiah is to be King over all the Earth. (Isaiah 2:11.) In the common affairs of life we use the word "day" similarly, when referring to Caesar's day, Napoleon's day, etc.
We follow the theory that each of the Seven Days of the Creative Week was a period of seven thousand years. This, seven times seven thousand, equals forty-nine thousand (7x7,000=49,000) years, ushering in a grand Jubilee Epoch.
As one after another the encircling rings of water and minerals approached the Earth they would spread out like a great canopy, but would not be permitted to fall upon the Earth because of the circumambient air, referred to in Scripture as a "firmament." Saturn's rings have not yet fallen.
God made the firmament in the second, or Palaeozoic Day, and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. (Genesis 1:7.) The strongly mineralized waters above the Earth, held off by the "firmament" and centrifugal force, greatest at the equator, gradually concentrated at the two poles, where later they broke and then reached the Earth, forming layer after layer of mineralized earth deposited by the water which rushed from both poles toward the equator.--Genesis 7:11,18.
These rings, or belts, of water and minerals followed each other as great deluges upon the Earth--perhaps thousands of years apart. The Deluge of Noah's day was the last, of pure water only, heavier minerals being attracted first. Hence minerals are generally under several layers of shale and soil.
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land of the Earth appear; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He seas. And the evening and the morning were the Third Day."
The beautiful simplicity of this statement might mislead us into thinking that the gathering together of the oceans and the erection of mountains were works of magic. While Divine operations are all great and wonderful, they are usually accomplished by reasonable methods, called the "course of Nature." And Nature's course must be marked out by Nature's God.
The ring theory of Cosmogony is that several rings had precipitated themselves upon the Earth during this Third Epoch-Day. These, according to the Divine intention, so increased the pressure on the crust of the Earth as to cause it to buckle or wrinkle. These depressions became ocean beds, and the upheavals became mountain ranges. Thus was the work of the Third Day accomplished. The waters were gathered into seas and oceans, the dry land was upheaved and began gradually to drain off in preparation for vegetation. This draining must have required a long time.--Genesis 1:9,10.
We need not assume that all the continents as we now know them were thrown up on the Third Epoch-Day. In all probability the American continent was thrown up much later than were Europe, Asia and Africa. Earthquake disturbances in our day have changed the surface of the land. They give us a reasonable conception of how the Divine command was executed on the Third Day, preparatory to Earth's vegetation.
Appropriately we next read: "And the Earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit." That is to say, vegetation began on the Third, or Carboniferous Day, though it did not reach its perfection until after the light of the Sun penetrated. There are grasses and other vegetation which prosper best in darksome shades.
"And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night."
It is not necessary to suppose that the Sun and the Moon were created after our Earth. Instead there is a much more reasonable way of viewing the matter. The Sun, the Moon and the Stars were created long before, but had never, up to this time, cast their light upon the Earth because of the impenetrable veil which canopied it.
The appearance of the Sun and the Moon on the Fourth Day implies that another ring broke at that time and precipitated its great mass of water and mineral upon the Earth. Great gullies were washed between the mountains.
The atmosphere, heavily charged with carbon, was very favorable to the development of plant life.
It is supposed that the Earth still had considerable heat in its crust, that oceans were warm and highly carboniferous, and that the air was surcharged with carbon to the extent that no breathing animal could have existed. But those very conditions were extremely favorable to gigantic growths of vegetation.
This giant vegetation presumably passed into a condition resembling that of the peat-beds of our day. These beds of incipient coal afterwards came under great pressure, as one after another the rings of Earth came down in deluges, burying vegetation under slimy deposits. Our coal-fields are the result.
We are not to assume that the Sun and the Moon shone on the earth then as now. But they were discernible even through heavy banks of fog and carbon-laden atmosphere. The influences of the Sun and the Moon were necessary to prepare for higher forms of plant and animal life.
We may as properly lay stress on the word rule as on the word made in this text. God caused the Sun to rule the day and the Moon to rule the night. Besides, symbolically, it is claimed that the Moon represents the Law Covenant rule, and the Sun the New Covenant rule.
The carboniferous qualities of the water and the atmosphere having been absorbed into the cretaceous organisms of the sea, which formed beds of limestone, and into the rank vegetation which went to form the coal beds, the atmosphere of Earth began to be pure enough to permit life in breathing animals. To this period, therefore, belong the amphibious developments of animal life, such as the crocodile and other animals which can live either on land or in the water. Birds belong to this period, and in the latter part of it appeared the great Mammoth and the Sloth.
The conflict between Evolution and the Bible has been sharp. Nevertheless, unnecessary friction has been generated.
Only in respect to man does the Bible declare a special, direct creation of God. The statements of Genesis in respect to the lower creatures rather favor something along the lines of specialized Evolution. God said, "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the Earth." (Genesis 1:20,21.) This is exactly in harmony with our scientific findings that the beginning of life came from the waters, and later extended to the birds, and later to land animals. [Dinosaurs 1 | 2 | 3]
The Darwinian theory has disappointed those who swallowed it without a sufficiency of demonstration as to its truth. (1 Timothy 6:20.) Recent demonstrations show that every mixture of species and kind, even where partly successful, means a reversion to the original standards within the third or fourth generation in plants, flowers, fruits and in animals.
The correct thought would seem to be that under Divine supervision various orders of creation were brought to a state of development and a fixity of species, not to be turned aside nor thereafter altered. Not one suggestion is offered respecting human evolution from a lower creature; but quite the contrary. The Bible furnishes merely a basis for faith, "that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped."--2 Timothy 3:17.
As the carbon-laden atmosphere became more pure, vegetation became less rank. The animals changed correspondingly. The heavy-boned Sloth and Mammoth gave place to less bony varieties of animals, common today.
The specialization in the case of man's creation is shown in his vast superiority over the lower animals. The first man, Adam, was an image of his Creator, the highest type of fleshly or animal being. That image of his Creator consisted in his moral and intellectual likeness. It is difficult to judge from present human conditions all that is meant by God's image, because we have no sample of perfect humanity for comparison. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" in which Adam was created. (Psalm 8:5.) Sin and Death have reigned and the Godlikeness has been lost. All need Restitution.
It was toward the close of the Sixth Day, or approximately forty-two thousand years from the time of beginning the ordering of Earth, that God created Man.
The image of God from this standpoint would mean a human being thoroughly in tune with the Infinite One, one that would have no unrighteousness nor iniquity in him. Adam's transgression was not the result of ignorance, nor of pure wilfulness. It was the result of temptation, which his limited knowledge accentuated. His responsibility was for the knowledge he possessed. He knew that he was disobeying God.
When thinking of man in the image of God, we instinctively look back to "The Man Christ Jesus," "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners," and like the first Adam, whose penalty He came into the world to meet.--1 Cor.15:22.
"After Our likeness let him have dominion." Adam's dominion over the lower animals was like God's dominion over the Universe. Angels, although in God's image, do not have a Godlike dominion over creatures of a lower order. Man's dominion, overthrown by sin, is to be restored by Messiah's Kingdom.--Acts 3:19-21.
In this presentation, we are following a line of thought which seems to be growing in acceptance among Bible students. We are living in the Seventh Creative Epoch, or Day-- that began where the Sixth Day closed, after God had created Adam in His own image and likeness.--Genesis 1:26,27.
God there rested from His work--from creating. He foreknew the permission of Sin and its dire effects upon humanity. He foreknew the steps He would take in providing ultimately a Redeemer for the race, and that the Redeemer would select a little company of believers, figuratively styled the Bride of Christ. To this Redeemer and His Bride, God intended to give the dominion, control of Earth. God purposed that Messiah's Kingdom of Righteousness should eventually uplift the willing and obedient from Sin and Death conditions.
God rested from His work of creating in that He did not actively employ His Power to overthrow Sin and uplift mankind. God rested the matter in the hands of the Redeemer, Jesus, to be accomplished through His sacrifice for sins and His glorious Reign for the release of mankind from Sin and Death. The Church, God's new creation of this rest period, is Heavenly, not earthly.--2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 3:1; 4:1-4.
It is claimed that, according to the Bible chronology, six thousand years from Adam have already passed. If so, the thousand years of Messiah's Reign, which is to close the great Seventh Epoch-Day, is near at hand.
According to this beautiful theory, the work of Messiah in His thousand-year Reign soon to begin will complete the Creation. Not only will the race be brought to human perfection, but incidentally man will have obtained the needed experience in respect to good and evil. Meantime, also, the Earth will be gradually coming to a state of perfection--Paradise restored world-wide. Both human perfection and the perfection of the Earth were fittingly represented in Eden, when Adam was in his Maker's image--a King.
As the Creation of Adam was at the close of the Sixth Day, the Creation of Mother Eve is indicated as having been accomplished in the beginning of the Seventh Day. However we view the matter, the first pair were created approximately in the beginning of the Seventh Day or Epoch, which is now nearly completed. Mother Eve was merely a portion of Adam separated from him for a special purpose--for the propagation of a race. Adam possessed originally in his own person the qualities masculine and feminine which subsequently were divided between him and his wife, when she was taken from his side.--Genesis 2:21-23; 1 Corinthians 11:8.
Adam for a time was alone in Eden, finding no congenial companionship in the beasts and the birds. Mother Eve was his mate, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Their very difference of quality and disposition made them the more companionable to each other, because each found in the other the desired complement. They twain were one; neither one was complete without the other. The feminine qualities of Adam's perfection he still possessed--in Mother Eve.
Adam was the father of the race and failed to give it life. Jesus is to become its second father, the Second Adam, through whom everlasting life may be attained.--1 Cor. 15:21.
Eve was associated with Adam in the sin and disobedience which brought the penalty. So the Elect Church, the Bride of Christ, when completed, glorified, will be His Joint-Heir in His Kingdom, and His associate in the "regeneration" of the world during His Messianic Reign.--Romans 8:17; Matthew 19:28.
Another suggestion has been offered: Jesus declared that those who attain to that resurrection will neither marry nor be given in marriage. As Adam originally possessed all the qualities of character, masculine and feminine, so humanity, when fully restored to the image and likeness of God, will re-attain perfection of individuality. Sex divisions will then be no more. Earth will be filled with sufficient population.--Luke 20:35,36.
The New Testament bears out the story of Genesis, of Mother Eve's deception, and that Father Adam yielded to disobedience through her influence. St.Paul declares that Adam was not deceived, and that he therefore had the greater responsibility. The Scriptures everywhere portray that it is through Adam's disobedience that the condemnation passed upon his entire race. He was its responsible head. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men."--Romans 5:12.
The Bible account tells of Mother Eve's thirst for knowledge, and of Satan's taking advantage of this, beguiling her into disobedience. We need not suppose that the serpent spoke audibly; rather, as we say, "Actions speak louder than words." It is probable that the serpent spoke in this manner.
God had authorized our first parents to freely eat of all the fruits of Paradise except of the species called "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." It was forbidden for a time as a test of their loyalty. The eating of the fruit of this tree, they were forewarned, would bring upon them the curse--the Death Sentence. The serpent ate of various fruits, and seemed especially fond of the forbidden fruit. Observation proved that the fruit did not kill the serpent, and the inference drawn by Mother Eve was that God had forbidden the use of the very best tree in Eden. Her conclusion was that God had a selfish motive in forbidding the use of that fruit; that He feared His creatures would become as wise as Himself.
Mother Eve did not broach these suspicions to her husband. She would eat, acquire the
knowledge God was withholding, and then assist Adam to it.
Adam realized the seriousness of Eve's disobedience. He thought of the long days before he had her companionship. Now, he would be lonely again. In desperation Adam determined to join Eve in the Sin and its penalty. Adam's death was a slow suicide! His dying lasted 930 years.