Created: September 9, 2015
April 2017 - ReWrite

Material is added as it is developed
 Last Update 23 May 2017

The Creation Narrative of Science and the Bible

Dr. David C. Bossard

Dr. David C. Bossard
Biographical Information

The Purpose of this website

This website concerns the Creation Narrative of modern science and of the Bible. A creation narrative describes how the universe and the earth came to be in their present state.

A full Creation Narrative begins with the creation of the universe, and ends with the Creation of Man. What this website attempts to show is that there is an astounding agreement between the Bible's Creation Narrative (CNB) and the Creation Narrative of Science (CNS). Both narratives, if properly understood, are full narratives in this sense. Each narrative, of course, emphasizes the aspects appropriate to itself: thus CNB emphasizes the activities of the Creator God, and CNS emphasizes the discoveries of science. Each aspect has its proper place.

The full Creation Narrative of Science is quite new, developed only within the past 50 years—and of course continually advances to provide fuller detail. Until the 20th century few scientists thought that a factual scientific narrative was even possible: cosmology was viewed as something beyond the reach of objective science. But scientists today know that a full, scientific narrative is possible, and many (not all) of its parts are now in hand.

The Bible's Creation Narrative has existed for over 3,000 years—but one's understanding of the basic facts of science affects how one understands the Biblical Narrative. Even if you disagree with a particular contemporary scientific view, your understanding of the Bible depends on how you view science. And since science has evolved over time, then naturally and inevitably the interpretation and understanding of the Biblical account has also evolved over time. Even yours has: you no longer think (I trust) that the sun goes around the earth, although that is the superficial appearance of observations, and many very sincere Bible scholars and scientists thought that the Bible took that view.

Science would be impossible if the Divine Creator had not embedded into creation an extensive and detailed narrative line written in a language
01 that can, with effort, be understood by the persistent investigator. This is a basic theme of the website. The Psalmist explains this in the immortal line, "The heavens declare the Glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork." That glorious statement is followed by an assertion that the Creator has embedded a "line gone out through all the earth" into the natural world, a silent voice that makes this proclamation. This line  can be understood with persistent and determined effort: that is the essence of science and it is not given to us without effort!02  

Within the past century science has interpreted that line with the result that the world today is blessed with a fairly comprehensive description of that Creation Narrative of Science, from the very beginning of the universe through the creation of the elements, of earth, and of life on earth. This narrative has vast gaps which time may fill, but the main outline is now known with some confidence.

A major purpose of this website is to explain how the two narratives—of Science and of the Bible—compare, a comparison that has been possible only within recent decades. They agree quite well, if one lays aside old misconceptions in the true spirit of a search for truth wherever it can be found.

The approach used here is to construct a consistent narrative using a number of short presentations. The intent is that these presentations give the essential development in a fairly accessible way, and then point to further resources with various excursions on the general theme.


Other websites that I have developed or helped develop (and which you, of course, are welcome to visit), are:

- The HMS Challenger Library and the Golden Age of Geology Library
        These libraries are part of my website;

- The website which gives a more comprehensive discussion of the various stages of the Genesis creation narrative; and

- The website of the Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute,
        See that site for a statement of IBRI's purpose and  membership.

These sites record, for the most part, the thoughts and views of many people with expertise in science and theology (although my own views appear on occasion), but this website gives my own views, for which I alone am responsible.

Scattered throughout are some theme boxes, explained here:

silent speech
Silent Speech

sharp points
Sharp Points

Synopsis: Creation Narratives of Science and of the Bible

The creation texts of the Bible have been established unchanged for almost 3,500 years. This text has led to many diverse narratives, as  Bible scholars and theologians attempted to interpret the text.
My own interpretation (CNB) is based on a valid interpretation of the Bible's text.

Over history scientists and philosophers have also given many narratives based on their best understanding of the science of their day. The latest generally accepted creation narrative of science (CNS), the Standard Cosmological Model was developed within the past century.

This website argues that the two narratives
agree on the essential points.  This agreement has been possible only within the past 50 years or so.

Here are Synopses of the Creation Narratives:
     Creation Narrative of Science (CNS): CNS Synopsis  .pdf   .doc
     Creation Narrative of the Bible (CNB):
CNB Synopsis  .pdf   .doc

This website gives some of the details that provide additional support to these synopses.


[*fn]^n01 Written language before writing. Shortly before 3,000 BC archaeology records the earliest evidence of written language, written in Egyptian, Sumerian and Akkadian (these two alphabetic languages from the region of Ur/Babylon in southern Iraq). The idea of alphabetic language is to represent sounds with "sounds like" images. Archaeology can trace the development of the writing as the images become more abstract—for example, the form of the letter "A": "[It] may have been a pictograph of an ox head ... styled as a triangular head with two horns extended." (See Wiki on "A")

Before writing, how did early humans make records? It is evident that they did, because a literal interpretation of Genesis Day Four, to "measure times and seasons, days and years" requires a retention of observations conducted over long periods of time (discussed later in connection with Day Four). The astronomer Walter Maunder argued that the constellations were a form of "written record" which predated writing. See Walter Maunder, Astronomy of the Bible (1904). The Lascaux Cave paintings appear to include an accurate sky chart from about 17,000 BC, which must have been reproduced from records written down in some way.

Ugarit (Ras Shamra) is a port city on the Mediterranean in Northern Syria, with a fortified wall dating to 6,000 BC, guarding the trade route between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates/Tigris trade routes. It is near to Ebla, the source of the Ebla Tablets, an ancient library from the early bronze age, c. 2500 BC, which contained many hundreds of literary texts and trade records. At the time, Ebla appears to have been a major educational center for prospective scribes.

[NOTE: GET John Healey, The Early Alphabet, and "Egypt, Ancient: Hieroglyphics and Origins of Alphabet" in Encyclopedia of African History 3-volume set]

Ugaritic tablet from Ebla Wikimedia

[*fn]^n02 One thing that I have learned over time, is that God doesn't usually hand things over to us on a platter. We have to work to get it.  Fortunately, one characteristic of good scientists is dogged persistence, and God rewards that with insight. One of the remarkable and unexpected features of this "line" that God has woven into the natural world, is that it gives a remarkable record of the past—going all the way to the very beginning in the Big Bang. Who would have thought that scientists can discover what took place within fractions of a second after the very beginning of the universe, or could learn what goes on in the interior of stars (which was revealed in that landmark 1957 paper by my one of my favorite scientists, Fred Hoyle, called B2FH after the authors Berbidge (man and wife), Fowler and Hoyle) (see citation below).


The Science of Cosmology and Beginnings

  It is astonishing that science can determine what happened in the earliest seconds and minutes of creation. This discovery has only been made in the past few decades. Prior to this, many scientists questioned the very notion that it would be possible to study these early moments with rigorous scientific precision, or even that the universe had a definite beginning. Cosmology—the physics of the universe and its beginnings—was relegated to the realm of religion or superstition, declared to be beyond the methods of rigorous science. Today, the science of cosmology is universally recognized as among the exact sciences and capable of fully rigorous mathematical treatment.

    In contrast with the former view, there is now a general understanding and agreement as to the fact of the Big Bang, and how the early universe grew from the Big Bang over the first few minutes. The precise age of the universe is
13.799 billion years old with an error of 21 million years, about 0.1%, based on measurements of the cosmic background radiation. This background radiation is a remarkable example of the Silent Speech of Psalm 19 preserved by God since the very beginning of time to reveal his glory and handiwork.

I. Before the Beginning
CNS: I. Creation of the physical world.
CNB: I. Before the Beginning (Genesis 1:2)

One astounding conclusion of CNS is that there was a definite beginning to the entire universe. The observable universe—all of space that scientists can view and measure—is 13.799 billion years old with an error of 21 million years, about 0.1%. This beginning is broadly called the Big Bang. At this beginning, the entire universe began as an intense point of light that has expanded and cooled since that time to the present.

The early seconds and minutes of the universe have two physical explanations at present: Einstein's General Relativity concerns science in the large; and Quantum mechanics concerns science in the small. Richard Feynman (one of my favorite role models in science) developed  Quantum electrodynamics which
explains how quantum particles interact.   Both of these theories have an outstanding record of confirmation, but there is no theory at present that combines these two extremes of science in the large and science in the small. The widely accepted overall Standard Model description of the early universe uses insights from both of these theories.

What (if anything) existed before this beginning? Experimental science is unable to say what came before the beginning, because it is limited to the observable universe. In fact, our understanding of quantum theory appears to break down for times less than the Planck Time, 5.39 × 10−44s: an extremely short (but not zero!) time after the Big Bang. At present, experimental science can replicate the temperature of the universe at less than 10−12s after the Big Bang, so many of the events in the early universe can be confirmed by actual experiment.

How do you describe the sitz before the beginning???

A Multiverse? Some scientists speculate that our own universe is just part of a vast (if nothing can be "vast"!) multiverse in which countless universes spawned since eternity past.

There are basically two reasons to postulate a multiverse:

(1) Philosophy appears to demand that any effect must have a cause.  Since many scientists reject the existence of God, the multiverse provides a natural "explanation" for what cause resulted in the observable universe. Another way to state this philosophical view is that anything with a finite existence implies something else with an infinite existence—a view that can be satisfied by having a God as prime mover, or by having eternal physical constructs and processes—a multiverse—that spawned the finite thing;03

(2) Our universe appears to be exquisitely fine-tuned to support the existence of intelligent life04. The multiverse "explains" this fact without a Creator (and of course without fine-tuning!), provided each universe involves an accidental, random selection of laws and constants. Our own universe accidentally has the particular selections in which all of the requirements for life just happen to exist: if it didn't then we would not be around to observe it! When one looks at the figures, this means that there must be vastly many more universes than there are atoms in our own universe—a truly staggering number. If I am struggling to describe the truly staggering number of universes, it's only because the concept itself is staggering—but necessary if one does not accept the concept of a Prime Mover.

I suspect that scientists generally believe that there is some grand unified theory to explain it all, that would not require all of these futile universes. But we just don't know what it is.

What does the Big Bang universe expand into? Creation Narrative descriptions.

By necessity, a creation narrative must say something about the situation before the beginning. Perhaps nothing exists outside of our universe, and after the Big Bang the universe expands into nothing? But frankly that sounds like nonsense: what is "nothing"? From the viewpoint of science, the closest that one can come is to say that before the Big Bang there was no matter, no radiation, no space or time.

There appear to be two early (roughly contemporaneous) religious descriptions of this indescribable state: The Genesis creation narrative, and the Hindu Rig Veda Hymn Nasadiya Sukta.

• Genesis 1:2 states:

2 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.

St. Augustine of Hippo, about 400AD, understood "without form and void" as "formless and empty", meaning the earth did not yet exist. In his view, it had been created "formless" and later made concrete. Eventually, about 900 years later, St. Thomas Aquinas developed this into a theological view in Question 66 of his masterpiece Summa Theologica, Whether formlessness of created matter preceded in time its formation?

St. Augustine extended this concept of formless creation not just to the earth, but to all aspects of creation. I do not agree with this understanding. For me, "without form and void" simply means the earth did not yet exist, without extending the concept to mean "virtual" creation precedes all steps of creation. I do not agree that the intent to create is equivalent to actual creation.

• The Nasadiya Sukta states that before the beginning:

Then even nothingness was not, nor existence,
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?

Then there was neither death nor immortality
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.*


But, after all, who knows, and who can say
Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
the gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

Translated by A.L. Basham (1914-1986)

* For a physicist, heat and light are just forms of radiant energy, so I view this "birth" as a reference to the beginning of the universe with the light of Day One.

The words used in these descriptions are figurative, by necessity (after all, there is nothing in the universe to match it!). The Nasadiya Sukta says this very nicely: "even nothingness was not, nor existence" and "darkness wrapped in darkness", "enclosed in nothing" (meaning there were no limits or bounds, no structure). The "Spirit of God" is "The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining."

The Genesis account says the same thing in a minimum of words. Personally, I appreciate the expanded description that this gives.

• One other Bible passage is also set before the beginning. Proverbs 8  is a poem about Wisdom that participated with God in the creation, before the earth existed:

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
Proverbs 8:22-30

Even the darkness before the beginning was different. Physics would say that the darkness of "nothingness" is absolute zero. This temperature is unattainable anywhere in the universe, because there is always the cosmic background radiation, about 2.7°K, left over from the Big Bang, or more precisely, left over from the onset of darkness when neutral atoms formed about 379,000 years after the Big Bang. See below.


[*fn]^n03 Before the demonstration that the universe is finite and had a definite beginning, many scientists assumed that our universe was infinite in space and time. So the multiverse concept applies that assumption one step earlier: the multiverse—infinite in space and time—spawned our finite universe and perhaps an infinity of other universes, each perhaps with a different selection of physical laws and constants. Of course, scientists are not entirely happy with this. It would be preferable to have a grand unified theory that would explain how such universes begin, how they chose laws and constants, etc. But, alas, such a (generally accepted) grand theory does not (yet) exist.

[*fn]^n03a See Introduction to Astronomy(pdf).

The Rig Veda was an Early Sanskrit document composed 1400-900 BC (roughly contemporary with the Genesis composition). Hymn 129 "Nasadiya Sukta" concerns Creation. Translation by Ralph T. H. Griffith. Translated by A. L. Basham. It was a long oral tradition until finally put into writing (it is thought) around 900 BC.  The name means "not the nonexistent" and its composition is  possibly contemporary with Genesis (but I'm not ready to go to the stake over this!). Or, more probably, both the Genesis account and the Rig Veda accounts reflect an older oral tradition passed down from the distant past. Genesis and other Old Testament books frequently cite sources for the information, which no longer are extant.

[*fn]^n04 A number of recent books have been written about this
. See Geraint F. Lewis & Luke A. Barnes,A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos(2017). This book is a comprehensive discussion of the topic, and also lists many other recent books.

On the physical events that occurred in connection with the Big Bang, see, for example, Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes: A Modern View Of The Origin Of The Universe (1988) and Jonathan Allday, Quarks Leptons and the Big Bang (1998).

[*fn]^n05 St. Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354—28 August 430), The Literal Interpretation of Genesis,ca. 415 AD. His view was that Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" is the instantaneous creation of everything, including the earth and all the events of the Creation Days. He couldn't understand why God would create over time, since He is timeless.

My own view is that God created using natural processes when they would achieve the needed result, and created by fiat (instantaneously?) when natural processes were unable to achieve the desired result. The task of the scientist is to find out what can be done naturally, to explore the limits of natural development, but without making the assumption that everything we see must be a natural development (as a scientist who rejects a creator God must necessarily assume). Much of the activity described in the creation Days can be done naturally, and thus, was done naturally and the task therefore took as long as natural processes would require (for example, the development of the shields ("firmament") on Day Two, and the creation of dry land on Day Three).

In my view this verse, together with Genesis 2:4 are the "bookends" of the creation narrative, which take place in the intervening verses. St. Augustine says, in Book I, §8, "Are we to understand that by the expression, heaven and earth all that God made is to be included and brought to mind first in a general way, and that then the manner of creation is to be worked out in detail, as for each object the words God said occur? For whatever God made, he made through His Word." My short answer is "yes". However he went on to give this verse a deeper meaning (which I do not agree with).

Augustine concluded that (because God is timeless) the creation of everything was instantaneous (omnia simul), but that they were created in potential, with the realization occurring in time. At one place [V.5.13] he said that God "Created potentially, for time would bring them into view in the ages to come." Henry Woods, Augustine and Evolution (1924) p. 14, remarks on omnia simul: "He conceived creation as proceeding from the Creator, a unit including all things whatsoever that are to exist to the end of time, and corresponding to the single creative mandate. ... [H]e places the analogue of all things, as yet without individual existence, existing in elementary matter as forms in potency, forms decreed to exist, therefore no figments of the mind... distinguishing objectively the things that are to be, from mere possibilities never to be actuated."; p. 16 "St. Augustine takes unformed matter in the scriptural sense for matter without definite external form." As noted earlier, St. Thomas Aquinas formalized his view in Question 66 of Summa Theologica. see - article1. The answer of Aquinas states that "holy men differ in opinion." He then cites the views of various Church Fathers. This view also provides an understanding of "without form and void" in verse 2. Clearly he did not consider adherence to a particular view as essential to the Faith.

[*fn]^n06 The Bible uses the same root word for "spirit", "wind" and "breathing" (in both the Old and New Testaments). An illustration of this is found in John 3:8, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." In this verse the same Greek word pneuma is translated "wind" and "Spirit".


Where did these Creation Narrative descriptions originate? Of course nobody knows, but my guess is that both of these narratives came from a common oral or written tradition (see
01). The Bible frequently notes that other sources—now lost—were consulted in its composition.

The Origin of Record-keeping? Writing?
Where did the "unknowable things" of the Genesis Narrative originate?
  It is a mystery to me how and when the principle ideas expressed in the Creation Narrative began. The Genesis account asserts several things that (until within the last century) could not be known by man apart from God's revelation because they concern things that are totally beyond the human wisdom of the day:

1. That the Universe had a beginning and came into being from nothing.
2. That the Universe began with the creation of light.
3. That advanced life (multicellular life) could not exist without an effective shield that separates inner from outer space.
4. That the early earth was completely covered with water: there was no dry land.
5. That dry land emerged from the global ocean, but the ocean still is in one place.
6. That animal life began in water, and later moved to dry land.
I challenge anyone to explain how any of these facts that are now known to be true could have been rationally discovered by  early humans. I would love to see a secular explanation apart from direct revelation from God. In addition there are some known and abundantly clear facts that the Bible notes but no rational scientist can explain how it happened or might conceivably happen:

7. That the first life began as a vastly complex, organized, self-replicating entity in the universe, with no plausible precursor. Anything but random for even the simplest forms of life!
8. That animal life has qualities that cannot be explained by any rational extrapolation from prior life—the nephesh chayah on Day 5.
9. That there is a vast gap between the human creation and any other living creature.
The Genesis creation account emphasizes all of these points, which lifts that narrative far above any other scientific "explanation" or pagan "evolved" myth.


[*fn] I.01 Note for I.01

[*fn] I.02 Note for I.02

[*fn] I.03 Note for I.03

[*fn] I.04 Note for I.04

[*fn] I.05 Note for I.05



II. Creation of Light in the Big Bang
Creation Day One
CNS: I. Creation of the physical world.
CNB: II. Day One: The Creation of Light and Darkness. (Genesis 1:3-5).
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
St. Augustine puzzled over these verses for many years.07 Fortunately he recorded his puzzlement in his book,  The Literal Interpretation of Genesis, and so we have a full record of it. I believe no other theologian has given comparable details of his struggles to understand the Bible. He had a truly scientific mind, and he recorded many of his questions "in the raw" so to speak without prettying them up. He asked such questions as, Why is the creation of light so important that it is the very first thing mentioned? Should we understand "light" to be taken literally or figuratively—as for example, perhaps it is "heavenly" light, or perhaps the term is used figuratively for the creation of celestial beings, the "angels of light" so to speak? How is it possible that light was created apart from darkness: doesn't light imply the existence of darkness, so how is it possible that darkness was created later, as verse 4 implies? Was this darkness a different sort of thing from the darkness of verse 2? And how could it take an entire day to merely create light: surely God could just speak the words, and it would be done immediately? Finally, if the light is literal light, how could it have been created in Day One, when the sun itself was not created until Day Four?

I think it is fair to say that—reading between the lines—St. Augustine was not himself completely satisfied with his analysis of Day One.

These are really interesting questions, and many theologians other than St. Augustine have suggested answers. But still these answers seem to require making special assumptions or adding something to the text rather than taking the words with their natural meaning. For example, the Scofield Reference Bible notes on Day One are typical of a line of exegesis that is still strong today. The Scofield Bible was very influential during the first half of the 20th century. He stated,
13"The 'light' here of course came from the sun." To reinforce this conclusion, he had to conclude that the sun was obscured by a heavy cloud cover until Day Four. This led to a whole speculative view that involved a prior ruined earth and other features developed in his notes, but that are not contained in the passage. In fact, the light of Day One did not come from the Sun, answering St. Augustine's puzzlement (note 07).

This situation all changed with the discovery—only since the mid-20th century—of experimental evidence for the Big Bang and the subsequent evolution of the universe since that event. The true facts revealed by  the Standard Cosmological Model give a natural explanation that does not require all of this added speculation.

First and most important, this discovery showed that Day One is not just the creation (or some say, the renewal) of the earth, but it records the creation of the universe itself. From nothing, as far as science can determine.

Why is the creation of light mentioned as the very first act of creation? Because at the Big Bang instant, the entire universe began as a point of light, and has expanded into nothingness at (nearly) the speed of light from that time to the present. Space and time were created at that instant.

Should we understand "light" to be taken literally or figuratively? The light of the Big Bang is physical light, so the light of verse 3 could be interpreted as literal light. It is so concrete an event that its time can be precisely determined (see above remarks). Whether it is also the creation of "spiritual" light is something that the theologians can discuss, but at least the Big Bang was physical, literal light, albeit at such high temperature that no light or heat on earth or in today's universe can compare with it.

So Day One marks the beginning of the universe, of space, and of time. As we remarked above, the setting for Genesis 1:2 is before the beginning.

How is it possible that light was created apart from darkness? There is no contradiction here, since the light is quite physical. Within a small fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the universe expanded and cooled to the point where some of the elementary particles could hang together: electrons, and the quarks that  combine to form protons and neutrons.

About a second after the Big Bang the nuclei of hydrogen and helium began to form. These are the primordial elements from which all of the elements formed much later. [For a very readable description of this see the book First Three Minutes] This continued for about 20 minutes, and then the universe cooled to the point that further fusion ceased for the time being. There was no darkness in this new universe; it was all light created in the original Big Bang.

Doesn't light imply the existence of darkness? Answer, No.

How is it possible that darkness was created later?Darkness entered into the universe when the temperature dropped to the point that neutral atoms could form (i.e. Hydrogen and Helium nuclei could hold onto orbiting electrons to produce neutral atoms). This occurred about 379,000 years after the Big Bang, when the background temperature of the universe dropped to about 3,000°K. When this happened, photons of background radiation would not be sucked up by nuclei, and could travel (on average) undisturbed to the edges of the universe.The background sky then darkened and darkness entered the universe. [Something analogous explains why days are bright and nights are dark and show the stars].

Was this darkness a different sort of thing from the darkness of verse 2?  Very interesting question. And I think the scientific answer is (as far as we can determine), Yes. Because the temperature of "nothing" is 0°K (absolute zero) which is a temperature that cannot be reached in the entire universe because of the residual echoes of the Big Bang (about 2.7°K).

... Now I suppose someone could maintain that these verses do not describe the Big Bang. But identifying the Big Bang with these verses provides very nice and scientifically accurate answers to St. Augustine's questions. And if that identity is denied, then they are left with the same puzzles that St. Augustine faced.

Was the sun itself not created until Day Four? 
This question has nothing to do with the interpretation of Day One, so it is not necessary to answer it here.

The True Interpretation of Day One
Probably no verses better illustrate the confusion caused by misunderstanding of what is actually being said. It's good, though, that the theologians were puzzled, because in fact they had no basis for understanding the actual events of the day or their true meaning, and so it led to many attempts at rationalization. The basic puzzles (and the true answer from modern science) are:

• Is Day One actually the start of creation, or is it a re-creation?
Answer: Day One is the actual start. It is the Big Bang, the beginning of space and time. At the Big Bang there was no matter: the whole universe consisted of radiant energy—light.
• How could there be light before the sun was (apparently) put in place in Day Four?
Answer: The Sun itself was formed from the light of the Big Bang. There had to be light before there could be the matter needed to form a Sun or the solar system, as nonsensical as that may have sounded to both scientists and theologians before the mid-20th century.
• How could there be light before matter?
Answer: All matter was formed from the light of the Big Bang. But the creation of matter other than the primordial elements Hydrogen and Helium, had to be preceded by the creation of darkness which converted the universe from radiation-domination to gravitation-domination—from a plasma universe to a material universe.
• Is the "light" to be spiritualized or taken figuratively? (Augustine)
Answer: It makes complete sense to take it literally, as meaning radiant energy. Whether there may also be a figurative or spiritual aspect is something the theologians have to figure out! In my own view the Creation account of Genesis 1 only concerns the physical universe—our own space and time—and does not treat the beginnings of the spirit world which is a separate creation.
• Is the light a clearing of earth's atmosphere?
Answer: No. The earth does not exist on Day One. The meaning of "empty and void" in verse 2 means that the physical earth did not yet exist.

With the discoveries of modern physics, the correct interpretation of Day One is evident!

Further Thoughts: From the viewpoint of both theology and of science, these verses of Day One are the most profound and most unexpected statements of the entire creation account, perhaps in the entire Bible. Who would have thought that the proper way to begin a creation account is with the creation of light? And yet, with the insight of modern science, this is exactly the correct way to begin the creation account.08 In truth, the universe did begin with the creation of light—pure radiant energy at intense heat: so hot that no elements, not even protons and neutrons, or the quarks that form them, could exist. This beginning is  the Big Bang.

Who would have thought that light is the most important thing to begin the creation account? Isn't the most important thing something material? Or objects: the Earth and Sky (as the Egyptian myths have it)? Or perhaps that elusive thing life? Or even the Sun and Moon—names that do not appear in the entire Genesis account—and stars? Some people imagine that "light" in this verse is a stand-in for the Sun, and that this verse refers to the light from the Sun (that's Scofield's view09). All of this misses the point—forgivably, because the full truth of the matter was not even known until the mid-1900s. Even Albert Einstein didn't know.



[*fn] II.01 Note for II.01

II.02[*fn]II.02 Note for II.02

II.03 [*fn]II.03 Note for II.03

II.04 [*fn]II.04 Note for II.04

II.05 [*fn]II.05 Note for II.05

[*fn]^n07 St. Augustine, Op. cit., Ch. 19, §38 asks whether this light is "spiritual light … or material light, celestial or supercelestial, even existing before the heavens?[emphasis added]" How close he was to the truth of the matter! This is followed (§39) by the famous statement that warns theologians against making assertions regarding matters of science of which they are ignorant: "Christians should not talk nonsense to unbelievers."

Many theologians thought that the light of Day One should be understood in a figurative or spiritual sense. Augustine tended to move in this direction. See John F. McCarthy, A Neo-patristic Return to the First Four Days of Creation, Part III - The Days of Creation According to St. Augustine (1993) "He puzzled over the creation of light on the first day, if the sun, the moon, and the stars came into place only on the fourth day….Not having found a satisfactory solution to this question, he considered the possibility that the light created on the first day was a spiritual light…."

One theologian even argued that the Creation could not begin with light in Day One, because the creation of matter must come before light. This led to the conclusion that the creation took place in Genesis 1:1. But in fact, the truth is the exact opposite of this: modern science asserts that matter comes from light (radiant energy) and so light must come before matter.

[Give other Refs for interpretations of "light" in Day One]

[*fn]^n08  To my knowledge, Pope Pius XII was the first recent theologian to suggest this deep meaning of Day One. See his paper, "To the Members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences" 22 November 1951 (Latin: translate with Google Translate).

[*fn]^n09 "The 'light' of course came from the sun, but the vapour diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky." The Scofield Reference Bible, 1917 Ed., Note 4 on Genesis 1:3.

[*fn]^n13 Scofield, (2nd Edition, 1917) note on 1:3 "The 'light' of course came from the sun, but the vapour diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an
unclouded sky."


III. Creation of Darkness
Creation Day One
CNS: I. Creation of the physical world.
CNB: II. Day One: The Creation of Light and Darkness. (Genesis 1:3-5).

Genesis 1:4 And God Saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

St. Augustine was puzzled about the separate creation of darkness. He thought that light and darkness naturally came together: darkness being the absence of light. His (understandable) error was that he did not realize that light is an actual physical object.

About 379,000 years after the Big Bang, when the background temperature of the universe dropped to about 3,000°K,the universe had cooled down enough so that neutral atoms and molecules could form by capturing and holding electrons. Before this time, atoms could only form briefly before the electrons would be stripped away by the energetic ambient heat. Before stable atoms could form, the sky was always bright because photons were constantly being absorbed and scattered from everywhere at once. When stable atoms could form, light photons could travel long distances without being scattered, and hence the sky could appear dark, for the first time since the creation. There was darkness, separate from the light—of course nobody but God was around at this time to witness it.

This creation of darkness was not just an incidental action. It changed the universe from one dominated by strong electrical forces to one dominated by the much weaker force of gravity. The electrical forces were neatly captured into neutral atoms of hydrogen and helium. Over time the gravity caused matter to come together to form stars and galaxies which formed the other elements by nuclear fusion (see  IV. below).


Augustine had several perplexities. Ad. Lit. 1.10.19 "Why was the creation of light so delayed until a day had passed and evening came?" (that is evening and morning) … "And the separation of light and darkness was done, surely, in the very act of the creation of light. There could not have been any light unless it was separated from darkness." 1.10.20: "As for the fact that God called the light Day and the darkness Night, how much time could this have taken? … No one certainly would be so foolish as to think that, because God is great beyond all beings, even a very few syllables uttered by His mouth could have extended over the course of a whole day." For these reasons Augustine leaned towards spiritualizing the light, connecting the light with Angels, etc. All is explained once the true meaning of Day One is understood!

Note that the darkness created here is quite another thing from the primordial darkness of Genesis 1:2. It is a new kind of darkness, created as a result of the cooling of the universe to the point where hydrogen and helium nuclei could hold onto electrons to produce neutral atoms.


So now we have a universe -- pretty useless at this point. The CNS says what happens next.  There are many excellent books that discuss the next steps in the CNS.

Formation of Stars and Forging of the Elements.
CNS: I. Creation of the physical world.
CNB: III. Creation of the Sun and Earth
Ch 4 Creation of the elements

By 20 minutes after the Big Bang, essentially all of the matter in the universe was forged by nuclear fusion, into hydrogen and Helium (with small amounts of beryllium and boron). After 20 minutes the universe was too cool to support further fusion. See Steven Weinberg,First Three Minutes for details.

When neutral atoms formed with the creation of darkness, the matter began to clump and heat up as gravity pulled it together. After about a billion years, the clumps heated up to millions of degrees and ignited into nuclear fusion. The hydrogen and helium fuzed to form heavier elements, beginning with the elements carbon, nitrogen and oxygen that are essential for life. The processes of element formation in the stars were first fully described in 1956 in a famous paper called
B2FH14 after its authors' names. This paper described how each element is formed in star-burning (forming elements up to iron, nickel and copper) as well as in the cataclysmic supernova deaths of stars which caused a tremendous flux of radiation that forged all of the heavier elements through uranium, and filled the surrounding space with its debris.

Over time, this debris of supernovas again coalesced under the force of gravity and formed second and higher generation stars, including the sun and the solar system, which formed about 4.65 billion years ago.12

This description in
B2FH of how the elements form in star interiors and in supernovas is a remarkable feat, because, of course, it is impossible to directly disect a star to see how it is constructed. But the conclusions of this paper have been confirmed repeatedly in high-energy experiments over the 60+ years since the first publicationIV.03, and there would be few genuine scientists that question its main conclusions (although there is a constant effort to test the validity of the claimed results).



[*fn]^n14 B2FH = Geoffrey Burbidge, Margaret Burbidge, William Fowler and Fred Hoyle, Synthesis of the Elements in Stars,
Reviews of Modern Physics 29 (1957) p547-650
. See the Wikipedia article. See also a brief preceding article by the
Burbidges, Cosmical Alchemy (1956).

[*fn]IV.03 For a Forty year update see: G. Wallerstein, Synthesis of the elements in stars: forty years of progress (1997).  This is a prime exemple of what evolutionary theory should do, and which biological evolution lacks. The B2FH paper, op. cit., explains how the evolution occurs with testable assertions.

[*fn]^n12 It was absolutely necessary for the Earth to have been formed from the debris of a supernova because that is how elements up to Uranium were formed and ejected from their mother-stars. The earth could not have remained warm enough for life if it were not for the warming produced by uranium decay deep in the earth's interior. This fact of Earth's long-extended warmth was a source of great puzzlement by physicists in the days before the discovery of radioactivity. Lord Kelvin (William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (26 June 1824—17 December 1907) estimated the age of the earth in 1862 to be 20-400 Ma based on the loss of heat from an initial molten state—unaware, of course, of uranium's radioactive heating. See James Dana, Manual of Geology (1896), p. 1026. [EDITOR QUESTION: To what extent does the earth's surface temperature depend on heating from the Sun, as compared with uranium heating in the earth's interior?]

[*fn]^n11 See Introduction to Astronomy(pdf).


Preparation of a Haven For Life
Creation Day Two
CNS: II. Preparation for Biological Life 
CNB: IV. Day Two: The Creation of Shields to Separate Inner and Outer Space.
Ch 5: A Haven For Life

The solar system had to have many specific physical features in order to be a host for living species. Here are the first requirements.

(1) The solar system is near the co-rotation radiusV.01 of the Milky Way galaxy. At this distance from the center of the Milky Way, the Solar System is protected from collisions with nearby stars. This placement avoids passing the solar system through the dense arms of the solar system for the billions of years needed to prepare the earth to host higher forms of life.

(2) The earth's orbit must remain in the habitable zone of the sun.
The habitable zone is defined as the distance from the sun that will have liquid water temperatures—the ambient surface temperature must be between freezing (0°C) and boiling (100°C), roughly between Venus and Mars, with Earth situated about midway within this zone.

In particular, the earth must remain within this zone throughout the entire time required to fit the earth to support advanced life. This time must be on the order of billions of years (for reasons that will be explained below), which is such a long time that there is no mathematical way to ensure or demonstrate such a high level of stability (See the following sharp point).

The Needed Stability of Earth's Orbit

The creation of life required that the Earth remain habitable for billions of years. Why this long time? One reason is that the production of fixed nitrogen using the nitrogenase molecule is a very slow process (see comments below), and a large supply of fixed nitrogen is required for all advanced life. Only sun-like hydrogen burning stars have lives on the order of billions of years.

The remarkable stability of the earth's orbit over billions of years cannot be explained by any mathematical demonstration. Newton himself, the first to describe the planetary orbits in exact mathematical form, wrote about his puzzlement in the Principia, his seminal work on gravity.

The problem that he saw is that the planets form a many-body system
orbiting the sun, and the orbits of such a system, are chaotic; that is, very minor perturbations in the orbits can result in long-term instability. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Butterfly Effect. Newton concluded that God had to tweak the earth's orbit from time to time to keep it in a stable orbit.V.02

About 100 years after Newton, a French mathematician Laplace wrote a book, Celestial Mechanics, in which he claimed to prove that the earth's orbit was stable. There is a famous exchange with Napoleon in which he asserted that he "had no need for that hypothesis", meaning Newton's remark about God's tweaking. However Laplace was wrong, and there is no known way to prove the stability for Earth's orbit for billions of years, which in fact was needed to provide a place for advanced life (as will be seen below). At present, the limits of provable stability are on the order of 100 million years, too short by a factor of 10.

To put it another way, the long-term stability of Earth's orbit for billions of years depends critically on the precise value of the gravitational constant—far more than can be computed by today's science (six significant figures).

(3) Within the habitable zone shields
are needed to protect life on the surface of the earth. The habitable zone places the earth too close to the sun. As a result the earth is subject to sterilzing hard alpha (charged) and gamma (uncharged) rays and coronal mass ejections from the sun as well as from outer space. The only solution is to place shields around the earth to protect it from this bombardment.

These shields are the specific subject of CNB, Day Two:

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

The "firmament" in Day Two is a shield or fence between inner space and outer space. It is a protection of the Earth from the rest of the universe, so that the project of life can proceed. Proverbs 8:27 describes it as "he drew a circle" (ESV) or "he set a compass" (KJV) on the face of the deep – literally "encircling" or "encompassing"; i.e. placing a fence: the same Hebrew word chuwg can be a noun or verb.

No life could exist without an effective protection from outer space: a shield is an absolute necessity.  In Hebrew, this shield is called the raqia, a word derived from an ancient meaning of "expanse" or "covering"—i.e. a shield. The word does not include the concept of solidity. That is an ancient addition that was inserted when the Hebrew was translated into the Greek Septuagint by the most advanced scientists of the ancient world. The best science of the day recognized the need for a separation of inner and outer space. They figured this must mean a something solid. So the translation of the Hebrew raqia into the Greek stereoma, and the Latin firmamentum seemed to these early scholars as simply expressing the obvious fact that the raqia had to be a concrete, solid entity to shield the earth.

However the Hebrews made no such presumption of solidity—as is evident in the fact that later in the same creation account, Genesis 1:20 says that fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament, using the same word raqia.

A shield is absolutely necessary to protect inner space, but this shield is not solid; in fact multiple shields exist, each essential to the existence of advanced life on earth: Examples: a magnetic shield to deflect high-energy charged rays and solar mass ejections of plasma (see the box below)

In the case of any "habitable zone" surrounding a star, these shields against high energy particles (charged and neutral) are needed because this zone is necessarily too close to the star: all life exposed to these rays would be killed without the shield. This need for a shield is why animal life began in water, before the shields were fully built: the water itself provides an effective shield a Life on land and in the air had to wait until the ozone shield was in place some 100 million years later (around 400 Million years ago).

Note that the ozone shield is neither solid nor visible, so early man, however "scientific" could not know about it.

Shields between inner and outer space (Day Two)

A number of shields are needed to protect inner-space life from outer space. The most important are:

• The Magnetosphere surrounding the earth which deflects charged rays (hard alpha (+) and beta (-) rays) from outer space, and also the periodic (charged) coronal mass ejections of  plasma from the sun's surface which may flood over the earth during solar storms that occur  in the direction of earth.

Magnetosphere shield surrounding Earth

• The ozone shield also protects the earth from hard (uncharged) gamma rays that come from the nuclear fusion within the sun and from outer space. This shield was effective around 400 million years ago, which marked the first movement of life from the oceans to land and the air.

• The massive outer planets also deflect many large space objects that might otherwise cause catastrophic collisions with the earth. A recent example is the 1994 Shoemaker-Levy comet which Jupiter swept up.


[*fn]V.01 Co-rotation Radius.
See Rich Deem, The Incredible Design of the Earth and Our Solar System for a number of remarkable features about the Sun and Earth, including placement of the solar system near the co-rotation radius of the Milky Way galaxy. "The Sun and our Solar System have been located in a stable orbit within our galaxy for the last 4.5 billion years. This orbit lies far from the center of our galaxy and between the spiral arms. The stability of our position is possible because the sun is one of the rare stars that lies within the 'galactic co-rotation radius.' Typically, the stars in our galaxy orbit the center of the galaxy at a rate that differs from the rate of the trailing spiral arms. Thus, most stars located between spiral arms do not remain there for long, but would eventually be swept inside a spiral arm....We are removed from the more densely occupied areas, where stellar interactions can lead to disruption of planetary orbits...The 4+ billion year longevity of life on earth (the time needed to prepare the planet for human occupation) would not have been possible at most other locations in our galaxy." See also Preben Grosbol, et al, Spiral Structure in the Milky Way: Confronting Observations and Theory(2010) on the co-rotation radius "just outside the Sun".

[*fn]V.02 Many-body problem. 
The difficulty is the so-called "Many-body problem". Systems of more than two objects (such as the sun and multiple orbiting planets) are inherently unstable, because minor influences can cause unpredictable long-term effects, popularly called the Butterfly Effect. Even the round-off error in the known physical parameters (gravitational force, etc.) can result in unknown behavior in the long run. The present known accuracy of the gravitational constant is known to about six significant figures, which can ensure stability only for about 100 million years. Wikipedia notes "The gravitational constant is a physical constant that is difficult to measure with high accuracy. This is because the gravitational force is extremely weak compared with other fundamental forces."

Isaac Newton noted this stability problem and concluded that God had to "tweak" the orbits from time to time. (See ???GET QUOTE). A century later the mathematician LaPlace claimed to prove the stability of the earth's orbit, in his famous (and erroneous) remark "I have no need for that hypothesis," referring to the necessity for God's stabilizing the earth's orbit. However LaPlace was in error, as is acknowledged by later mathematicians. Modern computations cannot predict stability of the earth's orbit beyond about 100 million years, much less than the required billions of years.

[*fn]V.03 The so-called Hebrew Cosmology is a modern invention which purports to describe a cosmological construct something like the Egyptian depictions which survive on ancient monuments. There is no such ancient monument to support such a supposed "Hebrew cosmology." Indeed it is unlikely that such a cosmology would have been formulated. The ancient Hebrews were peculiarly uninterested in such myths.

[*fn]V.04 The following chart from
B2FH shows that only Hydrogen-burning stars have lives on the order of billions of years.

Timescale for star burning (From B2FH)

V.05 [*fn]V.05 Note for V.05

V.06 [*fn]V.06 Note for V.06

V.07 [*fn]V.07 Note for V.07

V.08 [*fn]V.08 Note for V.08

V.09 [*fn]V.09 Note for V.09

V.10 [*fn]V.10 Note for V.10


VI. The Creation of Life ItselfVI.01
CNS: III. Life Itself
CNB: V. The Creation of Life.
Ch 6: The Creation of Life Itself

The creation of microbial and plant life occurs next. The CNB implies but does not specifically mention the creation of life itself, and CNS typically ignores the philosophical implications of the overwhelming difficulties. Lawrence J. Henderson remarked on the attitude of science in the early 1900s, a remark that is still relevant today.

"As for the existence of life, in spite of our utter ignorance, it must be admitted that a half century has greatly diminished the number of substantial biologists who really look forward to its scientific explanation.... The chemist puts his mind at rest regarding the existence of life, just as the physicist calms his regarding the existence of matter, simply by turning his back on the problem. Thereby he suffers nothing in his practical task as a man of science. ... Biochemists are more than ever unable to perceive how such a process is possible, and without taking any final stand prefer to let the riddle rest."
Lawrence J. Henderson, The Fitness of the Environment:
an inquiry into the Biological Significance of the
Properties of Matter (1913) p309-10.

"The advance of science has assuredly not made the origin of life easier to imagine, or even to think about. On the contrary I am fully persuaded that it has made the task far more difficult."
Lawrence J. Henderson,The Order of Nature (1917), p.115

The first mention of living matter in CNB is plants that grow on the dry land on Day Three (see below). However the natural world—the silent voice of Psalm 19—speaks volumes on this subject. So this is one place where the proclamation of "God's glory and handiwork" in nature forms an indispensible part of the creation narrative. The story that nature tells about the beginnings of life is extensive, deep and detailed—and growing: it will continue to give abundant fruit for many years to come. The account of life's beginnings is an amazing tale of tenacity and fitness. And it leads to the inevitable conclusion by a rational person, hinted at in these quotations, that a rational intelligence is an indispensible part of the unfolding narrative. This is the reason why scientists "prefer to let the riddle rest," as these quotes imply. This is an indictment against the way that science is practiced, because it implies an attitude that is exactly the opposite of rational inquiry that science should presuppose.

How Special is Life?
At times in the decades after 1859, the publication of Origin of Species many scientists thought that science would soon find a scientific explanation for the origin of life. Ernst Haeckel made the remark in 1876VI.02  that the "general explanation of life is now no more difficult to us than the explanation of the physical properties of inorganic bodies." That optimism did not last long.  Within a few decades, as scientists probed the nature of this protoplasm (German urschleim) the vast complexity of life began to unfold. No longer was it possible to argue for the simplicity of this "slime."

Today, there are three areas where probes have only increased the mystery of how it all began. These are:

(1) Discoveries of the exceedingly special nature of a universe that supports life. This concerns the possible range of parameters and laws;

(2) The incredibly complex digital nature of the central dogma, combined with the vast number of complex molecules and processes that must be present for any self-reproducing life to exist; and

(3) The vast array of unique genes and processes that define the major body types of life.

To my knowledge there is no demonstration of how such seminal changes could have evolved by natural evolutionary change.

The logical conclusion is that the whole project of forming a universe capable of life, of designing the complexities of the central dogma; of creating the many specialized and complex molecules needed to support metabolism and reproduction;  and the engineering of the various major classes of living species, point to a Intelligent creator. Those who deny this are in peril of committing to  the vast and foolish fantasy that St. Paul warned against in Romans 1:22, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

There is so much fascinating and incredible detail to the beginnings of life that it would be easy to lose sight of the overarching story. To avoid this, we will mention just some of the major points, and leave further details to appendices, so the overall flow can be got at without getting bogged down. 

Perhaps sensing the complexity of the question, Darwin  was quite careful to avoid speculation on the origin of life, contenting himself only to assert that once life existed, it evolved its many species by natural means according to Darwinian principles.VI.03

Darwin's acolytes, such as Ernst Haeckel, tried to argue at first that life was, at root, simple. But the more the question was studied, the more complex life appeared to be, leading by the early 1900s to Henderson's comment above: it is so complex that scientists do not "really look forward to its scientific explanation."

As time passed from that remark in the early 1900s to the present time, things have just become more and more complex, with a seismic event in mid-century as the details of its digital basis in DNA came to light. Today, many scientists acknowledge that the phenomenon of life is exceedingly improbable, quite possibly unique on earth in the entire universe. Even the most polemical atheists acknowledge this—their only sense of self-correctness maintained by claiming that the "probability of God" is even smaller ("so's yours!").

So here are the facts, gleaned from the multiple lines of evidence that the natural world offers.

When did life first appear on earth? The answer is startling: evidence of life appears almost as soon as conditions allow it to occur. Basically this means as soon as the earth had cooled from a molten state, and a (hot) global ocean had formed. Ancient rocks on Akilia Island just off GreenlandVI.04, dated to 3.8 billion years ago show traces of organic carbon [a carbon isotope mix that is characteristic of life]. The "biological carbon" is the result of carbon fixing by the RuBisCO molecule that is part of the sugar-making process of photosynthesis VI.05. RuBisCO is the only known natural catalyst for converting CO2 to make biologically useful carbon. It preferrentially fixes carbon-12 which results in a slightly higher ratio of 12C to 13C, the two stable forms of Carbon.

Recently (2017) some actual carbon fossils have been discovered in this same vicinity

Bacterial Life. The first life was bacterial. The creation of this life required the invention of many special molecules, procedures and even molecular machines, all defined and controlled by the Central Dogma, which is essentially the same for all forms of life.

The first bacterial life had the daunting task of scrabbling an existence from an inhospitable and inorganic earth. Its primary task was to prepare the earth for more advanced forms of life by preparing food in the form of organic wastes, including particularly fixed nitrogen and carbon. This task literally took billions of years to distribute organic food worldwide and thus prepare the earth for ...

Eukaryotic Life. Eukaryotes are characterized by the existence of a nucleus in each cell. But that is only the most obvious feature. Eukaryotes are so much more complex than bacterial life (itself vastly complex) that it might be viewed as a further creation of life. Eukaryotes have many specialized organelles which amount to factories which produce many special components of advanced life. All visible plants and animals, both single-celled and multicellular, are eukaryotes.

Eukaryotes cannot make all of their own food—they require this food to be already prepared in advance. In particular eukaryotes cannot make the fixed nitrogen needed in abundance by every living cell. This is why eukaryotes appear billions of years after their bacterial predecessors.

Most (all?) eukaryotes respire oxygen, which must be available in the earth's atmosphere. The presence of atmospheric oxygen on a planet is thus a marker of advanced life. To my knowledge only the earth shows such a presence among all the planets discovered in the universe. [check this]


VI.01 [*fn]VI.01 Notes for VI.01

[*fn]VI.02 Haeckel on protoplasm. Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919). Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation (1876): Vol. I, On the Protoplasm Theory, p.99ff. "protoplasm [= German urschleim, the original slime] is the most essential (and sometimes the only) constituent part of the genuine cell." [p406] "the general explanation of life is now no more difficult to us than the explanation of the physical properties of inorganic bodies." Further investigation showed much greater complexity than appeared at first. See George Goodale, "Protoplasm and its History", Science XIV no. 385 (November 22, 1889) (note the date) who remarked: "instead of regarding the protoplasmic basis as comparatively simple, it is now known to be exceedingly complex [my emphasis] ... [R]esults compel us to recognize in protoplasm a substance of bewildering complexity of composition and constitution... Instead of believing, as formerly, that all the granules within the cell arise de novo from the protoplasm in which they are embedded, we are now forced to regard all of them as springing from pre-existent bodies of the same character."  The true nature of this vast complexity, and details of the genetic code and processes were not known until almost a century later, when, in the 1960s, an outline of the Central Dogma first revealed its vast complexity. Since that time, the perception of complexity has increased manyfold.

[*fn]VI.03 Charles Darwin, letter (1863)
"It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter." Quoted in John Theodore Merz (1840 - 21 March 1922), A History of European Thought in the Nineteenth Century, II, p406, n1.]

[*fn]VI.04Mojzsis, et al. in 1996 reported their find of ancient rock from the Akilia Island off S. Greenland, which showed evidence of organic carbon. See Mojzsis, et. al., "Evidence for life on Earth before 3,800 million years ago", Nature 384:55-59 (07 November 1996): "The carbon in the carbonaceous inclusions is isotopically light, indicative of biological activity; no known abiotic process can explain the data." This claim has been fortified in a later re-visit to the region in 2006, reported in Science News, "Scientists Strengthen Case for Life on Earth More Than 3.8 Billion years Ago", 06 July 2006, which states: "Scientists look for evidence of life in ancient rocks like those from Akilia Island by searching for chemical suggestions and isotopic evidence. ... The light carbon, 12C, is more than 3 percent more abundant than scientists would expect to find if life were not present, and 3 percent is very significant, Harrison said. ... While critics noted there are ways to make light carbon in the absence of life, Harrison considers those possibilities to be 'extremely unlikely,' especially in light of another discovery of rocks in Western Greenland, not far away, of the same age, and a similar ratio of 12C to 13C."

RuBisCO molecule

Science Magazine, March 1, 2017, 3.77-billion-year-old fossils stake new claim to oldest evidence of life—alleged actual fossils (not just organic carbon) from Greenland's Isua Greenstone Belt. Until this finding is verified, I will accept the dating of the earliest actual fossils as reported in J. William Schopf, Cradle of Life (1999). He dated cyanobacteria-like fossils in the Apex chert of Western Australia to 3,465 ± 5 Million years ago. This accuracy is possible because the fossils are sandwiched between lava flows that contained zircon crystals capable of precise dating. See figure 3.9 (p.89) in Schopf's book.

VI.07 [*fn]VI.07 Note for VI.07

VI.08 [*fn]VI.08 Note for VI.08

VI.09 [*fn]VI.09 Note for VI.09

VI.10 [*fn]VI.10 Note for VI.10


Creation of Dry Land
Creation Day Three
CNS: I. Creation of the physical world. SET
CNB: VI. Day Three: Creation of Dry Land and Vegetation and Tectonic Maps (Folder).
Ch. 7 Dry Land
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place,  and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth;  and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas:  and God saw that it was good.

As a scientist, these words stand out from the Genesis account with a clarity
(perhaps perplexing clarity!VII.01a) and profundity that is second only to the creation of light in Day One. The mental image is exactly right: out of water, dry land  arose.VII.01 And again, as with Day One, the accuracy of these words was only understood by geological scientists within the past century, when the concept of tectonic plate movement was accepted as true based on overwhelming evidence, after many years of sometimes disparaging opposition to the lone scientist who first suggested it.VII.02  It even appears to be true that the present continents began in "one place"VII.03(called Pangaea) although that may be reading too much into a short statement.

The setting at the start of Day Three is this—both CNS and CNB agree. The primordial earth was covered in a global ocean, with no permanent land to break the ocean surface. A smooth crust had recently (in geological terms) formed on the hot, molten earth. There was a gaseous atmosphere, mostly nitrogen (as today), with a lot of water vapor, some carbon dioxide, but almost no oxygenVII.04.  As the earth slowly cooled over millions of years, the water vapor precipitated out of the atmosphere and formed a global ocean that covered the smooth crust to a depth of over 1000 feet.

I say "smooth": the nearby orbiting moon constantly wrenched the Earth's thin crust with strong tidal forces, daily distorting its shape. Ocean tides were sometimes hundreds of feet high -- tidal forces a hundred times more powerful than is experienced today.VII.05  Violent volcanic activity accompanied the wrenching of the crust. Volcanic cones frequently broke the ocean surface, but the exposed cones quickly washed back into the sea because of the monstrous tides, mocking the "dry land" that had briefly been exposed.

Nonetheless, over time regions of focused volcanic activity resulted in a slight distortion of the smooth crust, and led to extensive tidal shallows, formed from the washed debris of the volcanoes. Here is where the first life began, as described above.

Still, there was no permanent dry land. Over time, massive, slowly moving currents developed in the mantle -- the viscous rock below the crust.VII.06These currents dragged the crust, which broke into a number of large plates. The plates collided or separated under the tug of the mantle currents. Lines of volcanic activity today  trace out these plate boundaries.VII.09 At the collision points, one plate thrusts under the other, and melts as it plunges into the molten upper mantle. The lighter molten material crystallizesVII.10, forming granites. This process forms permanent dry land because the granites that form the base of the continents float over the denser magma that forms the ocean floors and upper portion of the mantle.

The process of continent formation has always been very slow, and it continues today. When the "greening of the land" commenced, dry land had been forming for over 3 billion years.VII.11



[*fn]VII.01a The mental picture seemed all too clear to the theologians, and it seemed to contradict what was thought to be known about how nature works.
St. Augustine (about 315 AD) remarked,
"Now, where were the waters gathered if they had originally covered the whole earth? When some were pulled back to lay bare the land, to what region were they brought? If there was some bare portion of the earth where they could be gathered, dry land already was in evidence, and the waters were not occupying the whole. But if they had covered the whole, what place was there in which they might be gathered so that dry land might appear?" St. Augustine Ad Lit. I.12.26 (415 AD); H.D.M. Spence-Jones,  The Pulpit Commentary (1890) (a popular protestant commentary) on Gen. 1:9 "The retirement of the waters from its surface, is to reverse the ordinary processes of nature"; C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical commentary on the Old Testament (1869) on Gen. 1:9: "But of this we have no physical explanations... By the divine act of naming the two constituents of the globe [that is, the land and the waters], and the divine approval which follows, this work is stamped with permanency." The sense of the commentators is perplexment upon perplexment. And believe me, the theologians felt it! The correct solution, that is, the rising of the land above the ocean surface was apparently too preposterous to be contemplated, and yet that is exactly the correct solution, which scientists generally accepted only in the 1950s.

[*fn]VII.01 Obviously "dry land" does not mean "arid", but that it is not underwater and is designed to stay that way.

[*fn]VII.02 Alfred Lothar Wegener (November 1, 1880—November 1930) first proposed continental drift in 1912. See the remarks from

[*fn]VII.03 The modern continents began as a super-continent called Pangaea. See the Wikipedia articles on plate tectonics and Continental drift.

[*fn]VII.04 An oxygen environment is a strong indication of life's presence, which is, of course, absent on the newly-formed early earth. The universe is strongly reducing [= has excess hydrogen] and so any extra-terrestrial planets can be expected to have reducing (oxygen-free) atmospheres—unless, of course, life is present. From the viewpoint of chemistry, oxygen likes to combine with hydrogen to form water, and with many other elements, to form oxides—particularly at the high temperatures of the early earth. So, free oxygen is "unnatural" and would not remain long in the earth's atmosphere, except that it is constantly renewed by plant life. The Mars Rover searched without success for methane as a marker of life (although a marker if life is present, methane could be formed by non-biological processes, as on Titan, a moon of Saturn). See "NASA Curiosity Rover Detects No Methane on Mars", Science News, 22 September 2013.

[*fn]VII.05 The assertion that life began as "extremophiles" who lived deep in the ocean is, in my view, implausible. For one thing, the genetic makeup of these extremophiles is more advanced than that of "ordinary" surface life, which indicates to me that it is a later development, derived from surface life. I am confident that in time, genetic (cladistic?) studies will confirm this. On the other hand, the first life (see the previous chapter) lived in very warm waters—perhaps near the temperature at which milk is pasteurized.

[*fn]VII.06 There is no consensus among scientists as to when, how and why these currents formed. There are a number of plausible ways that this might happen, but the precise details are not yet agreed upon. Certainly heat convection—the movement caused by cooling—was involved, and the tug of the moon following the tidal distortions, would nudge the currents to take an easterly or westerly orientation.

VII.07  [*fn]VII.07 Note for VII.07

VII.08  [*fn]VII.08 Note for VII.08

[*fn]VII.09 The volcanic lines that mark these crust boundaries were well-known in the 19th century, but the interpretation was not known. See Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology (8th Ed. 1850), Chapter 33 and Plates VI: Map of Volcanic Band in SouthEast Asia, a plate produced in 1832. The mountain ranges worldwide also trace out the upthrust effects of the boundary collisions.

 [*fn]VII.10 This process is called fractionation or fractional crystallization, also magma differentiation or Igneous differentiation. In essence a mixture of molten minerals (the magma) crystalizes with like materials forming crystals (the granites) that have a density lower than the original molten mixture.

 [*fn]VII.11 Tectonic maps over geologic time are available at number locations. See Christopher R. Scotese, The Paleomap Project, in particular the Pangea Animation (200 Mya to present). Other animations: see   Earth Through Time (290 Ma to Present), Paleogeographic Maps, and  Mollewide Plate Tectonic Maps. See also the Paleogeographic Atlas Project of the University of Chicago, and the maps. The fact that scientists can form these maps of the distant past is a remarkable example of how God has invested his Creation with a silent speech that proclaims his glory and handiwork. These maps result from a close analysis of fossil formations worldwide and correlation of index fossils which identify and date particular geologic periods. One such marker is the minute conodonts which were early chordates that lived between the Cambrian and Triassic periods (520-200 million years ago) and are extensively studied in petroleum exploration.


Plant Food for Life on Land: The Greening of the Land
CNS: II. Preparation for Biological life.
CNB: VI. Day Three: The Creation of Dry Land and Vegetation (Genesis 1:9-13).
Ch. 8. Greening of the Land.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

This is the first mention of life in the Genesis account and celebrates the creation of land plants. After forming dry land, the next step is to fill it with food. This is appropriately called the "greening of the land". Three words in this verse imply greening. One might (loosely) translate the Hebrew to read "Let the earth green (dasha) green (deshe) greens (eseb)." 

The "greening" is essential for the advanced plants and animals, because the more complex life becomes the more it depends on pre-packaged nourishment. It simply can't take the time or energy to prepare its own food in addition to all of its other tasks. Plants (but not animals) can fix carbon using sunlight, but neither plants nor animals can fix nitrogen. Every advanced species needs millions of fixed carbon and nitrogen atoms. As we saw earlier, fixing is a very slow process.  So the task of this part of Day Three is to fill the dry land with food.

The Earth's fossil record beautifully complements this brief account in Genesis with an extensive description of how this greening of the land was doneVIII.01, a story whose full details are by no means yet known; it will continue to reveal fascinating insights for many years to come.

The particular plants mentioned in these verses come at the end of a long process. They are the flowering seed plants that are the staples of agricultural life: grasses, grains and fruits. Without them, civilization could not exist.

Before the greening of the land could occur, two things had to happen:

•     The dry land had to have organic nutrients in place before plants could grow (particularly fixed carbon and nitrogen). This meant that the movement into the continental interior progressed slowly as the biomass accumulated; and

•     Harsh cosmic rays had to be filtered so that plants could survive. This was accomplished by the Ozone shield which began to form after the atmospheric oxygen content stabilized at about 25%. It took over a billion years from this point for the shield to reach adequate levels.VIII.02

The fossil record shows this advance of plant growth onto land.VIII.03  It reveals a long progression of plant growth on land, from pithy plants that lived along shorelines, in marshes and swamps to the movement inland to higher elevations, first forests of pine-like species and finally the broadleafed plants and trees (the flowering plants).

•     Devonian Age (410-360 Ma = Million years ago)—low plants, mostly fern-like at the start to tall jungle-like pith-centered trees (lycopods).
•     Carboniferous Age (360-295 Ma)—Continued growth of jungle-like pith-centered trees in marshes and low areas; early pine-like gymnosperms in higher elevations. Major coal formations come from this age.

•     Permian, Triassic, Jurassic (295-135 Ma)—woody trunked gymnosperms (conifers) generally take over from pithy trunks. Ancestors of many present-day conifer families. Source of oil and gas.
•     Cretaceous Age (136-65 Ma)—Angiosperms (the flowering seed plants) take over from gymnosperms. Explosion of angiosperms about 115 Ma. Source of oil and gas.
•     Cenozoic Age (65 Ma to Present)—Diversification of angiosperms; Grasses (Family Poaceae—monocots) "the most important of all plant families to human economies" (Wikipedia). The "greening" of Day Three.

The early geologists often noted that a major task of the earlier ages was to prepare the great deposits of ores and fuels without which the industrial revolution could never have occurred.VIII.04  The recent fracking revolution retrieves gas and oil from the Cambrian age and onward.VIII.05

The geological fossil record preserves a marvelous and detailed record of how this greening of the land began.  The record begins with a cameo showing land plants in 3-dimensional microscopic detail. This is the Rhynie ChertVIII.06which has marvelously preserved fossils of small land plants from the early Devonian age (about 410 Ma), in 3-dimensional "forests", placed in their natural growth positions and showing soft-body parts in exquisite microscopic detail, preserving all stages of growth.

Rhynie Chert
Rhynie Chert (ca. 410 Ma)
Early Land Plants
University of Münster
Palaeobotanical  Research Group

The preservation in the Rhynie Chert is so detailed and complete that it is as if the plants had been photographed in three-dimensional form, in an instant of time, including "live" action shots such as the ejection of sperm cells from sporangia. The preservation includes all growth stages of these vascular plants, and so are ideal for a deep scientific understanding of these, the first plants to migrate to land.

Seed after his kind. The final creative act mentioned in Day Three is the creation of seeds that reproduce "after his kind". This opens up a new dimension in the creation narrative, and new possibilities for misinterpretation of what the Genesis account actually says.

The phrase is a celebration rather than a command. The emphasis is on "kind" as a celebration of the fact that living species can reproduce new living species like themselves. The emphasis is not on the restriction of the amount of variation.VIII.07  It is a celebration of the ability of a radish to pass on its own blueprint (DNA) so that its "seed" will produce similar offspring. The seed of a radish is the start of another radish, not a cabbage (though the seeds in fact look very much alike!).VIII.08   The phrase is not a command that puts the Bible in a position that rules out evolution. It is a celebration of a marvelous provision in God's creation of all "kinds" of plants and animals—that they pass on their blueprints. In fact, sexual reproduction exists precisely so that offspring can vary from the parents—they are not exact clones. The wonder is not just that God created life and created living plants to populate the land and provide food for future plants and animals, but that he created them able to make spore and seeds—that look nothing like the parents—but which reproduce multiple living copies of the parents, to "fill the land".

Early geologists misread the fossil evidence to conclude that the creation of animals preceded plants.VIII.09  That is not strictly true: vast mats of algae, kelp and other water plants existed far longer than animals. The earliest plants show their presence in microscopic pollen, spores and seeds, the science of Palynology —literally, the "study of dust". Spores and pollen appear from the early Ordovician (ca. 500 Ma). The following figure shows spores from the Ordovician/Silurian boundary (430 Ma),

early plantlife and spores
Early Spores (Ordovician - 435 Ma)VIII.11  Cambrian Green Algae (Chengjiang formatiom)VIII.12

probably released by floating beds of algae and blown over land. These are very small—about the size of an average bacterium (20 µm). Through Palynology, the geological record shows another interesting fact: that sexual reproduction among plants was in place was already in place long before the greening of the land. This is demonstrated by the characteristic "trilete" shape of the spores in the figure. The trilete marks show the join point of four cells produced by plant sexual reproduction. 


[*fn]VIII.01 See  Body Plans: Beginnings of the Eukaryotic Phyla, which lists the major plant and animal phyla and classes, and indicates the earliest appearances in the fossil record.

[*fn]VIII.02 Bacteria were the first colonizers of land, and came long before the first land plants. These early pioneers were able to survive  under harsh cosmic rays because of their high reproduction rates, and because the damaged bacteria could both shield survivors and provide nutrients for them (particularly fixed nitrogen). The first plant colonizers lived in swamps and marshes and the water provided some shielding. Plants gradually advanced into the interiors away from wet areas over many millions of years.

[*fn]VIII.03  See the Wikipedia article,  Timeline of Plant Evolution.

[*fn]VIII.04 See, for example, William Buckland, Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural Theology, (1837) Chapter XIX "Proofs of Design in the Dispositions of Strata  of the Carboniferous Order", "... an ulterior prospective view to the future uses of Man, formed Part of the design, with which they were, ages ago, disposed in a manner so admirably adapted to the benefit of the Human Race."

[*fn]VIII.05 Examples of gas formations and the corresponding geological ages are: Conesauga Shale (Alabama)—Cambrian (~520 Ma); Utica Shale (Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Quebec): Mid-Ordovician (~460 Ma); Marcellus and Antrim Shale (PA, OH, NY, MI, WV, KY, TN): Devonian (400-360 Ma); Barnett and Fayetteville Shale (TX, MS): Mississippian (Upper Carbonaceous) (~325-360 Ma).

At one time, some scientists thought that petroleum might be generated inorganically, refered to as Abiogenic petroleum. After study, scientists generally rejected this hypothesis. Wikipedia states:

The two principal abiogenic petroleum hypotheses, the deep gas hypothesis of Thomas Gold and the deep abiotic petroleum hypothesis, have been scientifically reviewed without confirmation. Scientific opinion on the origin of oil and gas is that all natural oil and gas deposits on Earth are fossil fuels and are, therefore, biogenic. Abiogenesis of small quantities of oil and gas remains a minor area of ongoing research.

The scientific concensus, however, is that essentially all petroleum and natural gas deposits derive from organic sources, confirming the label "fossil fuels."

[*fn]VIII.06 Discovered by William Mackie while mapping the western margin of the Rhynie basin near Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1910–1913. See the University of Münster website The Rhynie Chert and its Flora.

[*fn]VIII.07 The limits of variation is an important question, but that is not the point of creation "after his kind". Early geologists were very interested in this because of the broad, but definitely limited, range of variation that they observed in the fossil record. Major changes appear suddenly, but then this is followed by a long record of variation within the major changes. See {EDIT: ADD THIS OR LINK TO?] Appendix 4, "Magnates Walk First". In current terminology, variation within limits is called microevolution, and is distinguished from macroevolution which assumes random changes that pass over these limits. In my view secular evolutionists have generally avoided deep investigation into the limits of variation, and tend to mix microevolution and macroevolution to "prove" the "fact" of evolution.

[*fn]VIII.08 "according to his kind"—Hebrew le-min. Some scholars claim that this phrase refers to the fixity of species (however defined). Against this, R. Laird Harris, et. al. eds., The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (1980), states on "min Kind" (p.503), "Some have argued that when God created min, he thereby fixed the 'species.' This is a gratuitous assumption because a link between the word min with the biologist's descriptive term species cannot be substantiated, and because there are as many definitions of species as there are bioilogists." [I agree]. He goes on, however to assert that "God created the basic forms of life called min which can be classified according to modern biologists and zoologists as sometimes family or order." In my view this is an unsupported assertion. It implies that this statement in the creation account argues against evolutionary change to produce new species. As I understand it, "after his kind" is not about fixity of species (or any particular classification), but about the phenomenal fact that living species are able to pass their genetic signature to their offspring and thus continue the race (of plant or animal). This is a miracle of creative fiat, and is the point of these verses, which say little or nothing about fixity of species as such. All offspring are slight variations of their parents: indeed that is the point of sexual mating, which combines the slightly different dna of the parents to form an offspring that is not an exact image of either parent. That ability to change helps to preserve the species. The issue of how much change is possible is a separate (and very interesting) matter, but which is not covered by the reproduction "after his kind". Michael J. Behe, The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism (2007) explores the issue of the limits of evolutionary change. I recall the remark of Thomas Henry Huxley (4 May 1825—29 June 1895) Darwiniana (1893), Ch. II "The Origin of Species" (written in 1860): "Of all the perennial miracles [Nature] offers, ... perhaps the most worthy of admiration is the development of a plant or of an animal from its embryo."

[*fn]VIII.09 The easily visible geological record gives this impression: sea animals appear in the Cambrian (530 Ma) whereas the strata showing land plants are much higher in the geological column (beginning in the late Permian, around 300 Ma). Microscopic examination (Palynology) corrects this misconception.

VIII.10 [*fn]VIII.10 A product of plant meiosis. See Wikipedia articles on Meiosis, Spore tetrads and trilete spores.

[*fn]VIII.11 From Alain Le Hérissé, Late Ordovician-earliest Silurian Palynomorphs from Northern Chad ... (2013). This article contains many other beautiful photographs and Electron micrographs of "miscellaneous organic debris" from the Ordovician/Silurian boundary. For somewhat later examples, see Adnan M. Hassan Kermandji, Late Silurian-Middle-Devonian Miospores (2012).

[*fn]VIII.12 Xian-guang Hou, et al. The Cambrian Fossils of ChengJiang, China: The Flowering of Early Animal Life (2008) shows several illustrations of Cambrian algae.


The following material is still being prepared.
 Last Update 23 May 2017

IX. The First Science: Astronomy
Timepieces in the Heavens
Creation Day Four
CNS: I. Creation of the physical world.
CNB: II. Day One: The Creation of Light and Darkness. (Genesis 1:3-5).

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.


IX.01 IX.01 Note for IX.01

IX.02 IX.02 Note for IX.02

IX.03 IX.03 Note for IX.03

IX.04 IX.04 Note for IX.04

IX.05 IX.05 Note for IX.05

IX.06 IX.06 Note for IX.06

IX.07 IX.07 Note for IX.07

IX.08 IX.08 Note for IX.08

IX.09 IX.09 Note for IX.09

IX.10 IX.10 Note for IX.10

X. Creation of Marine Animal Life
Creation Day Five
CNS: I. Creation of the physical world.
CNB: II. Day One: The Creation of Light and Darkness. (Genesis 1:3-5).

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Day Five is a major pivot in the creation narrative. In Day One through Day Four, the focus is on preparing the earth for animal life, which is then described in Days Five and Six. The signal for this pivot is the use of the word bara' ( ) = to create (by God), for the first time since verse 1. On the earlier days God spoke and made—even on Day One, when he created the universe itself—but here he created using bara', a word only used of God's own actions. This word will only be used one more time, when Man (or Adam) is created in God's image. To me, this is a curious fact. As a scientist, I look with awe at the creation of the universe with the light of Day One, and marvel at the creation of life itself—the first microscopic life. In Day Three the first visible life appears—green plants—to prepare the land with food for the future plants and animals. But the creation of animals that have life—nephesh chay י ) ), having life or breath—is celebrated with the word bara'. It celebrates the sort of life that has soul—not the soul in the sense of Man's immortal soul, but animal soul: something that is capable of movement, feelings and emotions, a certain amount of free will (it seems), and the ability to make decisions152, in contrast to plants and bacteria, which, although alive, do not have any of this153. This is a considerable step beyond just life itself, as miraculous as that is. Evidently it is such a step that it qualified for the special word bará. The Day begins with another word that is repeated: the waters "bring forth abundantly"— sharatz ( ), a verb, "moving creatures"—sheretz ( ), a collective noun: literally, swarms of (small) swarming creatures. This thought is repeated in verse 21: "… creature that moveth"—ramas ( ), to glide swiftly or swarm, in analogy to sharatz—"which the waters brought forth abundantly ( )." It is interesting that the "great whales" and the (small) swarming creatures are mentioned as being created in the same sentence, the same breath so to speak: the point is not the size of the creature but its animal nature, regardless of size. This suggests to me that the creation of animal life—the animal soul—involves a depth and complexity of creative activity that is not fully appreciated in science today—much like the incredible miracle of the creation of life itself was not appreciated by science a century ago (and by some, even today!). I expect that time—probably not in my lifetime—will unfold the marvel of this creation, with new evidence of the Creator's divine handiwork. It should be noted that the "fowl" are not necessarily birds (see the footnote). Flying insects such as locusts are also called "fowl". Actually it makes sense to refer to such insects as creatures that the "waters brought forth abundantly" because the insect egg and larval stages are in water. So these verses should not be used to imply that the Genesis account says that birds evolved from sea creatures such as dinosaurs—that may or may not be so, but such is not to be inferred from these verses. In the fossil record, flying insects accompany the movement of plants to land. Birds do not come until much later. So at this point, I would understand the "fowl" to be flying insects. This is another case where the geological record beautifully supplements the Genesis account154 with vast amounts of additional information about the development of early animal life in water. One thing that is evident: animal life is first mentioned as living in a water environment, and this is exactly what one finds in the geological record. The Cambrian Explosion. The geological record goes on with many great surprises. Perhaps the greatest surprise is the sudden appearance of animal life during the Cambrian period, with many of the Phyla (basic body plans) appearing within a short period of 10-20 million years. This is barely a blink of time from the perspective of geological timescales, hence the name "the Cambrian explosion".

149 moving creature: sherets ( ) = swarming things, creepers. Used of insects, small animals, reptiles, etc. The
trilobite would be an example of sherets.
150 Have Life: Hebrew nephesh chay ( י ), where the meaning of nephesh is spirit or something that breathes.
Frequently the Bible translates this as soul.
151 Fowl: Hebrew `owph ( ) = flying creatures which may include birds or insects. The word in Leviticus 11:20 refers to
"fowls" that "creep on all four", and names locusts.
152 The Scofield remarks (v. 24 note 2) that "In itself, nephesh, or soul, implies self-conscious life, as distinguished from
plants." Its not clear to me what he means by "self-conscious". A distinguishing feature of humans is self-awareness: the
ability to make rational assessments and decisions about one's own actions. For example, the long record of Neanderthal
tools shows little apparent ability to "think about" the purpose of the tools with the aim at improving them—for
hundreds of thousands of years there was little evidence of advancement in the skills of tool-making.
153 Except in the embryonic or larval stage when they do have the ability to move. But this motility is only visible under a
154 See Body Plans: Beginnings of the Eukaryotic Phyla, which lists the major plant and animal phyla and classes, and
indicates the earliest appearances in the fossil record.




X.01 [*fn]X.01 Note for X.01

X.02 [*fn]X.02 Note for X.02

X.03 [*fn]X.03 Note for X.03

X.04 [*fn]X.04 Note for X.04

X.05 [*fn]X.05 Note for X.05

X.06 [*fn]X.06 Note for X.06

X.07 [*fn]X.07 Note for X.07

X.08 [*fn]X.08 Note for X.08

X.09 [*fn]X.09 Note for X.09

X.10 [*fn]X.10 Note for X.10

Table of Questions

Day One: Creation of physical light
Why does the Genesis Creation Narrative begin with the creation of light? What sort of light is it? The first act of creation: creation of light in the Big Bang. Universe—space and time—created from nothing; expands into nothing. Second act of creation: creation of darkness. Light of Day One  preceeds the creation of the Sun and Solar System.
Day Three, Part 1—Creation of Dry Land
How could dry land appear out of the global ocean? Dry land appeared out of a global ocean. Oceans form one global water-mass. Dry land also began as one mass. Role of plate tectonics.
Before Day One
Why does the Genesis Creation Narrative begin with verse 2—before Day One? What is the setting of Genesis 1:2? Before Creation began. Earth did not yet exist—"shapeless and empty". Contemporary use of words indicate this—Rig Veda. Universe expands into "the deep"—empty nothingness.
Day Two
(Creation of the earth implied before Day Two)
What is the "firmament" in Day Two? Why is its description the second event in the Genesis Creation Narrative? A Raqia shields "inner space" from "outer space". Mis-translated in earliest Greek LXX by "firmament". Error persists to today.


Summary thus far: Creation of the Physical and Chemical worlds.

The Geological Record of Life

Introduction to Life: The Geological Record from Science.
When did Life Begin?
(Implied before Day Three)
Overwhelming complexity and unity of all life. When did life first appear on earth? First evidence on earth as soon as liquid oceans cooled to below pasteurization temperatures (~4.85 Billion years ago). No plausible scientific (falsifiable) explanation of how life began (within the timeframe of the entire universe). Remarks on complexity of the "minimum" possible form of life and the 1998 NAS Symposium on this question.
What is “Advanced life” and when could earth support it?

This is a set-up question. The (correct) implication is that the early earth could not support advanced life. First living bacteria prepared for advanced life over a span of 2 billion years. How did the earth prepare for it? The critical pathways: photosynthesis; carbon fixing; nitrogen fixing. Formation of oxygen atmosphere to provide oxygen respiration required by all advanced life. Distribution of fixed carbon and nitrogen worldwide. What is advanced life? The eukaryotic cell, visible plants and animals. Cambrian explosion. These answers come from science, not from the Bible. But science, in turn, gets its answers from the “silent voice” which God wove into the natural world. “It is unreasonable that we can answer these questions.”
Day Three, Part 2—The Greening of the Land
When did Plants appear on dry land? The Fossil record of migration to land in the Silurian/Devonian era. The Rhynie chert. Ozone shield; concurrent appearance of flying insects.
What does "creation after its kind" mean?
Sexual reproduction and implications. Preparation of food on land for animals. Spores, Seeds and Fruits.
Day Four: How do stars mark off the seasons, days and years?
Unexplainable stability of the solar system. Early development of Astronomy as the first deliberative science. Earliest (current) evidence for advanced Astronomical observation at Lascaux cave in 18th Millennium BC.
How do animals differ from plants?
First reference to special creation by God—barà. Significance. The animal "soul"—nephesh. Cambrian Explosion of animal phyla (body types)
Why did advanced life begin In the Oceans?

Note about reproduction in water environment. Eggs and amniotic sac as a sort of “water environment”. Eggs. Dry land sterilized before ozone shield completed.

What are the longest extant animal species?

Meaning of "kind" in this context. extant shellfish lines.  Bony Fishes—The Coelacanth "living fossil"
Day Six, Part 1—When did land animals first appear?
When did animals appear on dry land?
Day Six, Part 2—When did true humans first appear?

Creation of Adam. When did true humans first appear? Note: Only other use of barà in the creation narrative. Applies to both man and woman. Mandate to reproduce and “fill the earth” What is the scientific evidence for the earliest appearance of humans. Dressed stones, bows and arrows, Cave art. ??Cava ~30k BC Lascaux Cave ~18k BC. Later evidence: boats, advanced tools.
When did the alphabet and writing first appear?

Coincident with bronze age (smelting) ~3000 BC. Mid-East. (All written languages appear to derive from early cuneiform. (Chinese, Egyptian, etc.) Evidence for accurate astronomical record-keeping as early as the 18th millennium BC.

Other questions to tease your mind:
• When did the first smelting occur? (See Gen. )
• Earliest clock mechanisms?
• Are Humans and Neanderthals related?
• When was the Flood? Coincident with the annihilation of neanderthals?
===That's enough for now===


Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, Free Press, 2009.

E. Walter Maunder, Astronomy and the Bible 4th Ed. (1922). See the annotated Amazon ebook.

Space Studies Board, National Research Council, Size Limits of Very Small Microorganisms, Proceedings of a Workshop of the National Academy of Sciences (1999) (available as a PDF download).

This Website is developed and maintained by Dr. David C. Bossard, who is solely responsible for its contents.

mailbox Any comments or suggestions are welcome. Please email:
Dr. David C. Bossard.