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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In the Beginning...

I've been studying Genesis, and recently noted that God made light on the first day, but the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day.

I've been wondering about that. God is perpetual light, so that He wouldn't suddenly *become* light and divide it from dark.

What I'm thinking is this: any artist must choose his medium (oil paints and canvas for a painting, bronze for a sculpture, piano or trumpet for music) before he creates the piece. These media all have certain properties, certain advantages, and certain limitations. Since God created the universe, I wonder if He chose His *medium* that day to create this universe, the physical laws that must be in effect for the creation to come into being?

Does that make sense? Hmm, something to ponder anyway.


Jane Lebak said...

I'll complicate matters for you a bit (pun intended) in that the way Genesis 1 reads, God didn't make the universe ex nihilo. When the scene opens, matter has already been created. It's *chaotic* matter, but a whole lot of stuff already exists. God's first task,therefore, is to *organize* what's there. he does that by separating things from other things. He separates light from dark, the upper waters from the lower waters, and so on and so on.

"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness."

So it seems as if God *found* the light rather than made it, in a way (he let it happen--the verb in Hebrew doesn't really connect it to him, I'm told) and the process continues. But those waters and the deep and the earth all seem to pre-exist Genesis 1:1.

I like your idea for him setting the primary laws for the universe, though. Because I'm sure God could have chosen different basic laws of physics and different constants and such. Matter didn't need to be made up of atoms, or atoms constructed the way ours are, after all. We see from the existence of angels that God can create just fine without any connection to matter at all. :-)

Anne Lang Bundy said...

I'd never thought of this, but like what you're saying, Amy. One of the qualities of light is its ability to make truth manifest. So the creation of light might very well be the definition of truth as it relates to science (natural laws) as well as all other truth. Fascinating!

Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." This would be the beginning of the beginning, when God did create ex nihilo, but did not yet give definition to the water-filled, formless void. That process begins in verse 3.

"Let there be light" implicitly shows that light did not yet exist in the form God then created. Since "God is Light," He created something outside of Himself which had this same quality already within Himself.

In the creation of good light, God separated it from darkness, which is simply the absence of light which existed in verse one. If light and darkness were thus separated, I'd entertain the notion that good and evil were indeed part of the truths being defined in the creation of light.

I hope you'll do more posts on your thoughts along these lines, Amy. I loved this.

Jane Lebak said...

The translation I'm looking at here goes like this:

"When God began to create the heaven and earth--the earth being unformed and voice, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water--God said,"Let there be light"; and there was light."

That "when" is excluded from the NIV and KJV, but it makes that entire first sentence a dependent clause.

The NRSV begins "In the beginning, when God created the Heavens and the Earth, the earth was" etc.

The question is whether the NIV took out the "when" or whether the Jewish Publication Society and the NRSV created the same dependent clause for unknown reasons in order to make it appear as if creation isn't ex-nihilo.

Peter R Stone said...

Good ponderings, and I guess one of those answers we know when we get Home one day.
The way I heard it be explained is that God created the universe with age. That is, He created fully grown plants, birds, animals, and Adam and Eve as adults too.
And although He created the light sources on the fourth day, let's face it, it would have taken thousands+ years for light to reach the Earth from some stars and galaxies. So my understanding is that on the first day, He created the light from all those distant stars & galaxies, already visible from the Earth, and then created their light source on the 4th day.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

I LIKE the way you think, Robin!