As part of my series on building a creation model, I am going to cover the days of creation, one day at a time. The only exception will be day seven because nothing was created that day. I will be discussing any controversies associated with each day as well as discussing the significance of what was created on that day. The goal of this mini-series is to help the saints better understand creation, exactly as it happened from the book of Genesis. With that in mind, let us examine the first day of creation found in the first five verses of the Bible.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5. The very first verse of the Bible proclaims that God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. That completely precludes a wholly naturalistic explanation. However, it is between the end of verse one and the beginning of verse two that the first controversy of the Bible occurs. Proponents of what is called the Gap Theory want to insert an entire, pre-adamic world into that “gap”, to account for fossils and evolutionary scientists proclaiming that the earth is millions of years old. This theory has a myriad of problems with it that merit its own article, but I’ll illustrate one briefly. Beyond ignoring the plain meaning of the words “first day” in verse five, this theory also requires that their be death before Adams sin, something the Bible clearly teaches against in 1 Corinthians 15:22 and Romans 5:12.
Verse two tells us the condition the universe was in when God made it. “Without form and void” means it had no shape and it was empty. Referring back to the aforementioned Gap Theory, an empty earth would contain no fossils. What some might miss in verse two is the first appearances of both matter and space. The earth cannot exist without matter, thus matter must exist in verse two. However, matter, in like manner, cannot exist without space to put it in. Thus verse two tells us that God made both matter and space on the first day. We will see that He also created time on the first day. By saying the earth “was without form” the verse appears to be implying that the matter was spread evenly throughout the space, not formed into anything in particular yet. This would make sense, given that God created the universe in a somewhat step wise fashion and matter is the building block of all we see. Since this matter would have been brand new, it is unsurprising that the Master Builder had yet to fashion it into its final form.
Further into verse two the Bible tells us that there was darkness “on the face of the deep” and the “Spirit of God” moved on the waters. This appears to be a step further in that there is now organized matter. Perhaps the planets have been created at this stage. The amount of water present on earth currently would cover all land were it flat. Since the Bible tells us later when land appears, it is a safe assumption to say that the earth is completely inundated with water at this stage. God’s spirit moving on the face of the waters would appear to indicate a creative act. Perhaps it is at this stage God crafted the laws of physics, which must have been in play to keep the earth spinning and the water from floating off into space. Certainly at this stage all the physical laws of creation had to be in place to hold the newly crafted earth together. This also indicates that He had created the elements of chemistry and that the laws of chemistry were in existence as well. These would have been needed to cause water to bond and hold the ocean together.
Verse three tells us that God spoke light into existence. Where exactly this light came from is unclear. It could be the light of His presence, or it could have been a physical source of light. Either way, verse four goes on to tell us that God found this new light to be “good” just as He did with the rest of His creation. It is here that He splits time into the day and night cycles we observe even to this day. Here in verse five we observe the first appearance of time in the Scriptures. The first day is mentioned, indicative of the beginning of time. Day and night are mentioned, indicative of a typical twenty-four hour day cycle. This is important because here we find a second controversy. In an attempt to fit evolution into the Bible, a group of progressive theologians came up with the Day-Age theory, which I wrote about here. This theory has many flaws, the most obvious being that the Hebrew words for “evening”, “morning”, and “day” when used in conjunction with a number always mean a literal day, rather than the millions of years the theory claims.
The first day of creation is one of the more controversial days of creation among liberal theologians but the Bible is plain. God began His creation in a single, literal, twenty four hour day. In this article, we have seen some of the things God did and may have done on the first day. He clearly made earth and the water on it. This requires the existence of the laws of chemistry and physics, as well as matter and space. Thus day one can be viewed as something of a foundational day. God used the first day to set the foundation for what He would do on the following days. He put in place the processes His future creations would need to have to function. His master plan was begun on day one.