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Morrish Bible Dictionary

Creation

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This word is principally applied to the act of bringing things into existence that did not exist before. This is expressed in Hebrews 11:3 : "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." It is also applied to making new things out of material already in existence, thus, though man was 'made' of the dust of the ground, Genesis 2:7 , he is also said to have been created, the same Hebrew word, bara , being used in Genesis 1:1 for the creation of the world, that is used in Genesis 5:1,2 , for the creation of man. The passage in Hebrews 11 is important, because as men have no idea how anything can be brought into existence from nothing, they have talked of 'the eternity of matter;' the passage says it is 'by faith we understand' that the worlds were made by the word of God, so that seen things were not made of what is apparent.

The discoveries made by geologists of the various strata of the earth, the fossils found therein, together with the time that would necessarily be required for the formation of those strata, raised a cry that scripture must be incorrect in saying all was done in seven days. This led Christians to compare these works of God in creation with His words in scripture; and the principal question resolved itself into this: where in scripture could be found the many thousands of years which were apparently needed under ordinary circumstances for the formation of the strata? Putting aside the theories of the geologists, the facts are undeniable. There are the various beds of different substances in layers, which any one can see for themselves.

There are two ways in which Christians who have studied the subject hold that all difficulties are overcome.

1. That a long gap, of as many thousands of years as were necessary for the formation of the earth's crust, may be placed between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis 1 . That Genesis 1:1 refers to the original creation of the heaven and earth out of nothing; that the different beds were formed with the varying objects that are found therein as fossils, occupying a very long period. Then in Genesis 1:2 another condition is found: the earth by some means had become without form and void.* It was then ordered in view of the creation of man; and the various things were arranged and formed in the six days as detailed in Genesis 1 , as they are now found in and on the earth.

*Some suppose this to have been the work of Satan.

The principal objection to this is, that though there had been upheavals, depressions, earthquakes, sudden deaths, as evidenced by the contortions of fishes, in some of the early strata, there is no appearance after the various beds had been formed of what would answer to Genesis 1:2 , which says "the earth was without form and void."

2. The other theory is that Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 refer to the formation of the earth as matter, or that Genesis 1:1 refers to the creation of the earth, and that Genesis 1:2 refers to its being disordered by some means, as in the above theory, but that the various beds were formed with the fossils found therein during the six days recorded in Genesis 1 ; and that the days were of any needed indefinite length. It has been shown that the first things named as on the earth were grass and herbs, and these are always found in the lowest beds; and the other things created are found exactly in the same order upwards from the lowest, until man appears. These, in short, form three divisions: plants in the lowest beds; reptiles in the middle; mammals in the highest, with man the most recent. It is also asserted that no break has been discovered, as would be the case if after the beds had been formed destruction had come in, and an entirely new work of creation had begun again in what is recorded in Genesis 1 . Many of the existing species are contemporaneous with those that we know have ceased to exist. It is maintained that the term 'day' is often used for indefinite periods of time in scripture, and therefore may be so in Genesis 1 ; that they refer to God's days, and not to natural days, seeing that 'the evening and the morning' are spoken of before the sun, which naturally causes the evening and morning. Also that it is not consistent to hold that God's rest on the seventh day only alluded to 24 hours.† It is true that the introduction of sin marred God's rest; but this is not there contemplated.

† It is asserted that long before any question of geology arose there were some among the Jews, as Josephus and Philo, and some among the Christians, as Whiston, Des Cartes, and De Luc, who believed that the 'days' of Genesis 1 were long periods. — 'Creation,' Kitto's Cyclopaedia.

To this theory it is objected that the words 'the evening and the morning' are too definite a description of the meaning of the word 'day' to allow the idea of indefinite periods. It is also held that Isaiah 45:18 (translating the passage "He created it not without form, he formed it to be inhabited") proves that God did not create the world in the first instance "without form and void." The word 'created' here is the same as in Genesis 1:1 ; and the words 'in vain' in the A.V. are the same as 'without form' in Genesis 1:2 . As to the correspondence in the order of created things it may be admitted that if the long periods come in between Genesis 1:1 and 2, the after order in the six days' creation is exactly the same — God working, in the same order on the large scale (ages), and on the smaller (six days' work).

Either of these theories sufficiently meets the supposed difficulty, and shows that God in His works does not clash with God in His word, though His word was never intended to teach science.

In the creation we read that of every living thing each was made 'after his kind;' man was entirely separated from all others by God forming him in His own image and likeness, and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, thus leaving no room for the modern theory of evolution. God, who knew perfectly everything which He had created, declared it to be as it left His hands very good ; and the more His works are examined the more perfection is discovered in every minute detail both as to plan and purpose, suiting everything for the place which each and every one is intended to fill. Sin has come in and spoiled God's fair creation, but man, who has been the occasion of it, dares to ignore God, or to blame Him for the pains and penalties attached to fallen humanity. Man everywhere endorses Adam's sin by his own individual sins.


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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Creation '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/mbd/c/creation.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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