What is the creation story in the Bible?

In short, the biblical creation story is the account of how God created all that exists.

Genesis 1:1–2 sets the scene, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." So there was God and this empty, dark, formless water.

Then Genesis 1:3–5 tells us, "God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light… God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day." It's interesting to note the order of morning and evening on that first day, and each subsequent day, that "there was evening and there was morning." For this reason, in Jewish tradition each new day begins at sundown, in darkness, and then continues into daylight ending at the next sundown.

On day two, "God said, 'Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.' And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day" (Genesis 1:6–8). It is thought that this water above the sky is what came down when "the floodgates of the heavens were opened" for the great flood in Genesis 6—9 (see Genesis 7:11, NIV). Some also speculate that the atmosphere was very thick during this pre-flood era which helped protect the people from the aging effects of the sun, explaining why they lived 500—900+ years during that time.

On day three, God gathered the waters together in one spot and made dry land appear. He called the land "Earth" and the waters "Sea." And then, God made vegetation sprout upon that dry land. This creation of light, air, land, and plants was preparing the earth for living creatures.

On day four, "God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.' And it was so" (Genesis 1:14–15). On this day, God made the sun, moon, and stars visible to and effective on the earth.

On day five, God created the great sea creatures and birds of the air. (Genesis 1:20–21). In fact, He created so many sea creatures that the Bible says the waters swarmed with animals.

On day six, God created land animals (including wild animals, livestock, and all animals that creep along the ground) and then mankind, in that order. In making man, the Bible says, "God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:24–27). It is interesting to note God's use of the plural in referring to Himself implying His triune nature from the very beginning. It's also interesting that because mankind was made in God's image, humans are to have dominion, or authority, over the care of the rest of creation.

On day seven, God had finished the work of creation, so He rested: "God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation" (Genesis 2:3). This day of rest established the pattern for Sabbath—taking one in every seven days for rest. Though Christians are not bound by the Sabbath specifically because Jesus is our Sabbath rest, we are still encouraged to rest. The seven-day creation also established the pattern for the seven-day week still in use today.

It is interesting to compare this Biblical account to what evolution scientists are discovering. Scientists believe that a sizeable quantity of water would have been in the material that formed Earth. Because Earth would have been less massive during its formation, water molecules would have escaped Earth's gravity more easily. This condition of floating water sounds similar to God's account of a dark, formless water in the beginning.

Scientists believe that a heavy carbon dioxide atmosphere with hydrogen and water vapor then developed, leading to liquid oceans coming into existence. This development sounds similar to God's account of separating the waters and creating sky on day two.

As the Hadean eon neared its end, scientists believe the actions of plate tectonics and the oceans would have trapped vast amounts of carbon dioxide thereby leading to a much cooler surface temperature and the formation of solid rock. This theory sounds similar to God's account of creating land on day three.

The next geologic eon is the Achean, and during this period, astronomers think the sun had only 70–75% of its present luminosity, but that temperatures on Earth were near modern levels. Because the sun was less powerful on Earth but the temperature was the same, they believe that a hydrocarbon haze may have acted as a UV shield that was transparent to visible light. Therefore, the sun and moon's effects on the earth may not have been visible until this time as the atmosphere began to become oxygenated. This development sounds similar to God's account of using the lights in the sky to mark seasons and days and years on day four.

The next geologic eon is the Proterozoic, which is the time range between the appearance of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere and the appearance of the first complex life forms. Scientists believe more rocks were being formed during this time as well as microbes and bacteria. The following eon is the Phanerozoic when scientists believe "life" happened. Scientists are finding that diverse life forms prospered in the oceans but that the land at that time was comparatively barren. This account sounds similar to God's creating the great creatures of the sea on day five (before creating land animals).

Scientists then state that birds and mammals show up on Earth before mankind finally develops. This theory again corroborates the account given in the Bible of God's creative action on day six.

Although evolutionary scientists do not credit God with the creation of the universe, Earth, and life, nor do they believe creation happened in six, literal, 24-hour days as Got Questions Ministries holds, their discoveries are encouraging to the faith of many Christians as they demonstrate that life came about exactly in the order God describes in His Word.

Related Truth:

What is the importance of biblical creationism?

In what ways do beliefs about creation impact the rest of theology?

Creation vs. evolution - What does the Bible say?

What is the meaning of creation 'ex nihilo'?

Is creationism scientific?

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