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The biblical story of creation of the world and man


"I believe in One God, the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible," we confess daily at home and in the church. This means that the universe is more than an object of intellectual comprehension, it is an object of faith. However many mysteries the science may discover in the fields of physics, chemistry, geology, cosmology and so on, the principal questions will still remain unresolved for man: what were the origins of particles that formed up the universe, and of the laws of nature? What is the purpose of everything that surrounds us, and the purpose of a human life? Science is not only unable to answer these thrilling questions, but it basically cannot touch them, because they are out of its reach. These questions are answered by the inspired Bible.

The visionary prophet Moses put down the history of Creation of the Universe and man in the first chapters of Genesis. Until recently, science could say nothing convincing about the origin of the Universe. It was only in the 20th century, after significant successes of astronomy, geology and paleontology, that the origins of the Universe became more open to scientific examination. So what? It turned up that the universe started to exist in exactly the sequence outlined by the prophet Moses!

It was not Moses’ goal to produce a scientific report about the Creation; though, his narration outstripped modern science’s discoveries by millennia. His description was the first testimony that the universe was not eternal but started to exist in the time, and it occurred in a staged, evolutionary manner. Modern astronomers came to the conclusion that the Universe was not eternal after discovering that it expands like a balloon. Like 15 to 20 billion years ago it was all condensed in a microscopic point, which, as though exploding, started to expand in all directions, gradually shaping up our visible world ("Big Bang").

Moses divided the Creation of the Universe by God into seven periods and named them symbolically as days. For six "days" God was making the world, and on the seventh "He rested from all his work which he had made." Moses did not define the duration of these "days." The whole history of the mankind is unfolding during the seventh day, which has been lasting for already thousands of years. The numeral seven itself was often used in the Writings in a meaning that was symbolic and not quantitative. It signifies completeness and wholeness.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," — these words of the Bible embraced everything that God created: our visible, material universe and the spiritual, angelic world, which we cannot observe physically. The word "created" means that God made the universe out of nothing. This is the conclusion that modern scientific discoveries are also driving at: the deeper nuclear physics penetrates in the fundamentals of matter, the more often it discovers that the matter is "void." Even "quarks" that make up protons are evidently not solid particles. It comes that matter is an inexplicable state of energy.

We continue reading the Biblical description of the Creation and see that it generally fits into the scheme, suggested by today’s science. Skipping the details of how galaxies came to be after that "beginning," Moses focused his narrative on the Creation of the Earth and what fills it. So, on the first day "God said, Let there be light: and there was light." These words probably point at the moment when interstellar gasses and dust, which were the construction material of the Solar System, had become so concentrated by the gravity field, that a thermonuclear reaction with abundant radiation of light began in the middle of the gas ball (fusion of hydrogen to helium) — the Sun began to exist. Light was the factor that later made it possible for life to start on the Earth.

Comets, micrometeorites, asteroids, protoplanets formed out of gasses and dust, which formed the Sun. Moses called this twisting and hurling mass of gasses, dust and particles "water." As the time passed, attractive interaction formed it into planets. This was the division of "the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament" on the second "day" of Creation. So, the Solar System, called "Heaven" in the Bible, received its final appearance.

The earth, as well as other planets, was initially glowing. Water, evaporating from the depths of the Earth, fogged around in thick clouds. When the Earth’s surface cooled down sufficiently, water started to precipitate as rain, shaping seas and continents. Than, water and solar light let plants grow on the earth. This was the third "day."

Primordial giant vegetation (and water-borne micro-organisms) began cleaning the atmosphere from carbonic acids and producing oxygen. If anyone had looked at the sky from the ground till then, he would not have seen the contours of the Sun, Moon or stars, because the Earth was all wrapped in opaque gasses. In the same way, until today sky is not visible from the surface of Venus, because thick gasses surround this planet. That is why Moses wrote that the Sun, Moon and stars appeared on the next day after plants, i.e. on the fourth day. Godless materialists in the beginning of the 20th century did not know this and mocked at the Bible’s story, which described the creation of the Sun after that of plants. In accordance with the Bible, dispersed solar light reached the surface of the Earth since the first day of the Creation; the shape of the Sun was not perceivable, though.

Due to the presence of clean oxygen in the atmosphere, more complex forms of life started to exist: fishes and birds (the fifth "day"), and, finally, beasts and humans (the sixth "day"). The modern science agrees with this sequence of origination of creatures.

Moses omitted from the Biblical story many details of the Creation of life, which would be interesting for science. We should remember that it was not the objective of his narrative to list the details, but to demonstrate the First-Source of the Universe, its Wise Maker. Moses concluded his description of the Creation by saying, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." In other words, the Creator had a definite purpose in the Creation of the world: make everything serve the good, and lead to that which is good. Until today, the Nature has retained the stamp of goodness in itself, being the evidence of the Creator’s wisdom and kindness.

According to the Book of Genesis, man was the last creature. Today’s science also thinks that humans were the youngest beings in the world of animals. As regards the origin of man, science and the Bible differ in methodology and definition of purpose. Science tends to establish the peculiarities of human physicality, origins of the human body, while the Bible always refers to man in his wholeness, with his intellectual, God-like soul in addition to the body. However, the Bible states that the human body was created out of "earth," i.e. out of elements, as well as bodies of animals. This fact is important, because the Bible confirms that physical likelihood between humanity and animality. But the Bible accentuated the exclusiveness of man amongst animals, as the bearer of "Divine breath," the deathless soul. Through this God-like soul, man possesses special spiritual intuition in distinguishing the good from the evil. This spiritual intuition draws man toward fellowship with God and spiritual world, toward moral perfection. In the extreme, the worldly pleasures only cannot satisfy the thirst of man’s spirit. These facts give a proof of the Bible’s witness that humanity is not merely the utter evolutionary stage of an animal, but is a simultaneous representation of the physical and spiritual worlds. The discovery of this mystery helps man find the right place in the world, hear the call for doing good, and long to God.

In the conclusion of this brief review of the Biblical history of God’s Creation we must mention that, along with the succession of events, this narrative (and the following story about the life of the First Couple in Eden and the Fall) contains symbols and allegories, which are not fully comprehensible. The significance of symbols is that they give a chance to pass by the confusing details, and understand the important message that God reveals to men: in this case, it is the message about the cause of the evil, diseases and death in the world.

Science continues the arduous examination of the universe. It finds a lot of new and interesting things that help us understand the Bible fuller and deeper. But often scientists cannot see the forest behind the trees, as the proverb has it. That is why, understanding of principles should have priority over knowledge of details. The significance of the Bible is exactly in that this Book reveals the principles of existence to us, and this keeps it meaningful while the ages pass.

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