|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
We have an eyewitness account, recorded in the first two chapters of Genesis and affirmed throughout the rest of the Scriptures, which is the only record that makes sense of the data we observe in the universe around us.
A Perfect Universe
That account tells us that the original creation was perfect. Genesis chapter one records that the creation was "good" (prior to verse 31) or "very good" - literally, "utterly or thoroughly good" (verse 31); perfect in all respects. The creation is the act of the perfect God (Job 11:7-9). Scripture states that the present condition of the creation is the result of the curse brought about by man's sin, and that through Christ the created order itself will be restored to perfection (Genesis 3:17-19, Genesis 5:29, Romans 8:19-25; Revelation 21:27, 22:3).
Out of Nothing
The Bible teaches that the heavens and earth were in fact created; in other words, matter is not self-existing. The Hebrew word translated "created" in Genesis 1:1 is bara. In the grammatical form in which bara is used (qal stem, perfect tense), this word means that God created that which had not previously existed, and that His creative work is a completed action. In other words, creation is ex nihilo, "out of nothing". The Apostle John emphasizes this in the beginning of his Gospel account: "All things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:3). Christ is "before all things" (Colossians 1:17, see also John 17:5). The Biblical record states that God spoke the universe into being and that God's creative activity has ceased (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 29; Psalm 33:6-9, 148:1-5); that He now upholds the created order by His word (Hebrews 1:3); and "by Him all things consist" - literally, "hang together" (Colossians 1:17).
Six Literal Days
The creation days are literal days. An analysis of the text of the Bible bears this out. The Hebrew word yom, translated "day" in Genesis one, can have a range of meanings. These include an ordinary day, a specific point in time, a period of light contrasted with a period of darkness, or even a year. But in Genesis one, the range of meaning of yom is limited to a literal day by the use of the word in context.
In the creation account, yom is used with an ordinal number (first day, second day, third day, etc.) and is coupled with the descriptive phrase "evening and morning" in verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, and 31. Outside of Genesis one, yom is used over 400 times in the Old Testament with an ordinal number, and each time without exception it means a literal day. Also, outside of Genesis one yom is used with reference to "evening" or "morning" 23 times, and each time it means a literal day.
Other Hebrew words that can mean "day", such as olam (e.g., Deuteronomy 32:7) and qedem (e.g., 2 Kings 19:25, Psalm 44:1), are used elsewhere in the Old Testament. They are always either translated "day," or they are used with yom to mean long or indefinite periods of time, or ancient times. But these other words and formulations for "day" are not the word used in the creation account. Yom is used with ordinals and descriptors that define it as a literal day.
And clearly, the reference to the creation account in Exodus 20:8-11 is a reference to a literal day. Any other meaning would make nonsense of the Sabbath commandment.
Six Contiguous Days
The creation days are contiguous days. The text of Scripture also bears this out. There is no indication of any time gaps between the creation days. God's use of the creation week as the model for man's weekly pattern of work (six days) and rest (one day) in Exodus 20:8-11 confirms this, and would not make sense otherwise.
An Eyewitness Account
The Genesis account of the creation of the universe and mankind is an eyewitness record given to us by God Himself. Since God is infallible, it is a record we can trust. It is also the only account that makes sense of the world and mankind as they are.
A Record That Fits the Data
Both those who believe in six-literal-day creation and those who do not - whether they believe in atheistic evolution or in some theistic theory - have the same body of evidence before them. All have the same physical data of the universe, gathered through the experimental sciences of astronomy, biology, geology, hydrology, oceanography, and so on.
But evidence does not speak for itself - it must be interpreted. And all interpretation of evidence is based upon presuppositions. No one examines the evidence as a neutral party. As Romans chapter one makes clear, no one examines the evidence without presuppositions - beliefs - about the way the evidence should be viewed.
The Christian who presupposes a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis believes in the existence of a Creator who gave mankind an eyewitness account of the origins of man and the universe in the Bible. The Christian's starting point for interpreting the scientific evidence is that the Genesis account is accurate and trustworthy.
The evolutionist, on the other hand (whether atheistic or theistic), presupposes that the Genesis account is not accurate and trustworthy, and that the scientific evidence must be explained in some other way. He comes to the same evidence not as a neutral - not without beliefs - but with a different set of beliefs.
The question, then, is this: Since we are all looking at the same body of evidence, which interpretation of that evidence, based on which set of presuppositions, truly makes sense of it? We at TeachingtheWord are convinced that the Genesis account, which says that God created a perfect universe, out of nothing, in six literal and contiguous days, is the only one that makes sense of the evidence. It is the only one that explains how the universe and mankind originated, and how they came to be in their present condition.