After the creation of Heaven, the invisible, angelic world,
God created out of nothing, by His word alone, earth, that is, the
material from which He gradually made our visible, physical world, the visible
sky, earth and all that is in them.
God could have created the world in a single
instant, but since He wished from the very beginning that this world should
live and develop step by step, He created it not in an instant, but over
several periods of time, which in the Bible are called "days."
These "days" of creation were not the
usual days that we know, consisting of twenty-four hours. Our days depend on
the sun. However, during the first three "days" of creation there was
no sun yet in existence, which means that the days described in Genesis could
not have been the kind of days as we understand them. The Bible was written by
the Prophet Moses in the ancient Hebrew language, and in this language both
"day" and a period of time are called by the same word Yom. It
is impossible for us to know exactly what kind of days these were, even more so
since we know that "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as one day" (II Peter 3:8; Ps. 89:5).
The Holy Fathers of the Church consider the
seventh "day" of the world to be continuing even at the present time,
and that after the resurrection of the dead there will begin the eighth
eternal day, that is, eternal future life. Thus St. John of Damascus
(VIII century) writes concerning this: "The seven ages of this world are
reckoned from the creation of Heaven and earth to the general conclusion and
resurrection of men. For even though there is a personal ending, there is also
a general, complete ending when there will be the general resurrection of men.
The eighth age is the age to come."
St. Basil the Great in the fourth century wrote in his book Hexaemeron:
"Therefore whether you call it a day or an age, you express one and the
Therefore, in the beginning, the matter created by
God did not have any definite shape or form; it was formless and undeveloped
(like fog or water) and covered with darkness, and the Spirit of God was borne
upon it, imparting to it life-bearing power.
Holy Bible begins with the words: "In the beginning God created Heaven
and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).
In the beginning in Hebrew is bereshit and means "first
of all" or "at the beginning of time," that is, before bereshit
there was only eternity.
here is expressed by the Hebrew word bara, which means "created
out of nothing." It is distinguished from the Hebrew word assa,
which means "to make, to form, to shape out of matter." The word bara
(created out of nothing) is used three times in the account of the creation of
the world: 1) in the beginning — the first act of creation, 2) at the creation
of "living souls" — the first animals, and 3) at the creation of man.
Strictly speaking, nothing more is said concerning
Heaven, that is, it was finished in its formation. This is, as was said above,
the spiritual, angelic world. Later in the Bible the Holy Scriptures speak of
the heavenly firmament, called "heaven" by God, as a reminder
of the higher, spiritual Heaven.
"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"
(Gen. 1:2). "Earth" here is understood
to mean the original matter, still not put into form, from which the Lord God
during the six "days" formed and made the visible world — the universe.
This unformed matter or chaos is called the deep, as being unfathomable and
unlimited space and water, as a water-like or mist-like matter.
was upon the face of the deep, that is, the entire chaotic mass was
submerged in darkness, due to the complete absence of light.
And the Spirit of God was borne above the water: here began the creative work of
God. By this expression "was borne" (the Hebrew word used here has
the following meaning: "to embrace everything with oneself as a bird with
its wings spread out embraces and warms its fledglings"), the action of
the Spirit of God upon the first-created matter should be understood as the
imparting to it of the living power which was necessary for its formation and
All three Persons of the Most-holy Trinity
participated in the creation of the world equally, as the Triune God, One in
essence and Indivisible. The word "God" in this place is written in
the plural Elohim, that is Gods (the singular is Eloah
or El— God), and the word "created" (bara)
— is in the singular. In this way the original Hebrew text of the Bible, from
its very first lines, points to the singular essence of the Persons of the Holy
Trinity, saying as it were, "In the beginning Gods (the three Persons of
the Holy Trinity) created Heaven and earth."
The Psalms also clearly speak of this: "By
the Word of the Lord the Heavens were established, and all the might of them by
the Spirit of His mouth" (Ps. 32:6). Here "Word" means the Son
of God, "Lord" means God the Father and "the Spirit
(breath) of His mouth" means God the Holy Spirit.
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is plainly called
"Word" in the Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word...and
the Word was God...all things were made by Him, and without Him was not
anything made that was made" (John 1:1-3).
It is especially important for us to know this,
because the creation of the world would have been impossible if there had not
first been the voluntary will of the Son of God to endure the sacrifice of the
Cross for the salvation of the world. "All things were created by
Him" (the Son of God) "and for Him: and He is before all things, and
by Him all things consist: And He is the head of the body, the Church: Who is
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have
pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father, that in Him should all fullness dwell;
And, having made peace through the blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all
things unto Himself; by Him, whether they be things in earth or things in
Heaven" (Col. 1:16-20).
The First Day of Creation.
And God said, let there be light: and there was
light... And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And
the evening and the morning were the first day. This was the first
"day" of the world. The first act of the formative
creation of God was the creation of light.
"And God said, let
there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good:
and God divided the light from the darkness... "(Gen. 1:3-5).
It may seem strange that light could appear and
that day and night could follow one another from the first day of creation when
the sun and other heavenly luminaries did not yet exist. This gave an excuse
for the atheists of the eighteenth century (Voltaire, the encyclopedists and
others) to mock the Holy Bible. These poor men did not suspect that their
ignorant mockery would turn back against them.
Light, by its nature, is entirely independent of
the sun (fire, electricity). Light, but not all of it, was concentrated in the
heavenly luminaries only later, at the will of God.
Light is the result of the action of light waves,
which is now produced primarily by the sun, but which can also be produced by
other sources. If the primeval light could appear before the sun and could have
been like, for example, the light of the northern lights, the result of the
union of two opposing electric currents, then it is obvious that it (the
northern light type of light) could have times when it began, then came to its
greatest brilliance and then again began to lessen and then almost completely
cease. In this manner, according to the Biblical expression, there could be
days and nights before the sun appeared, and there could be evening and
morning, which would serve specifically as a measure for the determining of
these parts of time.
Some commentators point out that the ancient
Hebrew words erev and boker — evening and morning —
also mean "mixture" (confusion) and "order." St. John
Chrysostom says, "(Moses) clearly called the end of the day and end of the
night one day, in order to set forth a certain order and sequence in the
visible (world), and so there would be no confusion."
One should always bear in mind that science has no
limit to its knowledge. The more science learns, the more areas that are
unknown open up before it. Therefore, science can never give its "final
word." This has been proven many times already and is being proven even
more so at the present time.
Until the beginning of this century, scientists in
general and astronomers in particular believed in infiniteness of the universe
in time and space. They admitted that some parts of the universe could change
(e.g. development of stellar systems), but considered the elementary particles,
which constitute matter, and the laws of physics as eternal.
This naive conception about the steady-state
‘eternity’ of the universe was rejected in the first half of the 20th
century. In 1913 astronomer V.I. Slipher, in performing spectral observation of
galaxies through a powerful telescope, found that all galaxies, irrespective of
the direction of observation, moved away from our solar system at high speed.
He also noted that this speed was proportional to the distance. In a word,
Slipher found that our universe expands, or inflates as a giant balloon. We need
to mention here, that galaxies are defined as multi-billion-star systems,
revolving around galaxy centers by the effect of the binding gravitational
field. For example, our solar system is located at the edge of a medium-size
galaxy called the Milky Way. Closest to us is a galaxy called Andromeda at a
distance of more than 2 million light years. The entire universe consists of
billions of galaxies of various sizes and shapes.
Slipher’s discovery of expanding universe shook
the world of scientists. The staggering consequences of this discovery for the
traditional science became obvious to everyone. If the world is expanding, then
at some moment in the past it was condensed in one point, and therefore it is
not eternal and not infinite. What force set this point to motion that
transformed it into this colossal universe? Many observatories around the world
immediately repeated spectral observations of distant galaxies. Slipher’s
conclusion was confirmed: the universe is expanding at an incredible speed. The
furthest spots of the universe fly away from us at about the speed of light.
Finally, it was calculated that our universe came into existence approximately
15 billion years ago, when a microscopic point blew out forcefully, emitting
radiation in all directions. The opinion of modern scientists is that neither
matter, nor time, nor space existed before this explosion. While cooling down,
the primary radiation began to concentrate into atoms; the powers of nature,
which subsequently became the laws of physics, appeared at the same time. Later
atoms started to cluster into gas clouds; the gas clouds condensed into stars
and stellar systems. This is the origin of the universe in a couple of words.
The term for it is ‘the Big Bang.’ Is not this ‘bang’ described in the Bible
when it tells us: "And God said, Let there be light: and there was
light" (Genesis 1:3).
Now it would be interesting to mention the sharp
scientific disputes ignited by Slipher’s discovery. Many scientists tried to
save the former theory of stability of the universe so earnestly as if they
were defending an unchangeable dogma. This dispute exposed the inherent human
prejudice and non-objectivity, which scientists have not less than religious
fanatics. There were attempts to refute the arguments of Slipher and his
adherents. But it was hard to cope with facts, because facts are stubborn. Even
Einstein, a prominent scientists and founder of contemporary physics, who
openly admitted the existence of God, disagreed with this new discovery about
the origin of the universe for 17 years. Once he even said, "It (the
expansion of the universe) irritates me... It seems senseless to accept this
possibility." Note the emotionalism of these words, so unsuitable for a
scientific discussion! Later, mathematician A. Friedman and scientist G.
Lemetres proved it to him that the solution concerning the expansion of the
universe was contained in his own formulae of the general theory of relativity.
Einstein finally agreed with the fact of the expanding universe in 1930 when he
personally visited the best-of-its-time observatory on Mount Wilson in
Scientist E. Hubble (1889-1953) later worked much
in the area of measurement of galactic motion. His efforts helped to confirm
and clarify the previous conclusions. Today no one disputes the fact that the
universe is expanding.
Now we will discuss the method of measurement of
distant luminaries. Measurement of the speed of motion is based on the
principle of spectral comparison. It is known that many elements in incandescent
state emit light of a certain spectral type (specific alternations of color and
black lines). From an analysis of light, emitted by stars, it is possible to
determine the chemical composition of these stars. When stars move toward us,
then the spectral property of their emitted light shifts to the ultra-violet
color, while the shift of spectral emission toward the infrared color (red
shift) occurs when light bodies move away. A similar change of sound frequency
can be noticed when we hear a vehicle which comes nearer and then pulls away
from us: first we hear a higher, and then a lower frequency of sound. Through
spectral measurements of typical stellar light emissions (e.g. sodium and
hydrogen), scientists determine their speed in relation to us. It turns up that
the light that comes to us from distant light systems is always characterized
by red-shifted spectrum.
The theory of sudden origination of the universe
out of an immensely powerful superhigh-temperature bang also found its
confirmation in the following fact. In 1948 Russian scientist and US resident
G. Gamov calculated that if the universe had started to exist due to an
explosion, then cooled traces of this bang had to be traceable until this time
as weak electromagnetic radiation, corresponding to the temperature of 3
degrees above the absolute zero. He predicted that this radiation had to be
reaching us in perfectly uniform amounts from every direction. Indeed, in 1965
scientists A. Penzias and R. Wilson found the existence of background radiation,
fully in concord with Gamov’s assumption. This radiation is emitted by
interstellar space irrespectively of luminous celestial bodies. It is an
ancient footprint of that powerful bang.
For us the believers these scientific discoveries
have a great religious and philosophic meaning. First, they confirm our faith
that the universe was created in time and out of nothing. They strengthen our
belief that only God is omnipotent, eternal and infinite. Anything else around
us is limited both in time and in space. Everything started to be due to the
Creator’s Will, and the same Will may cause everything to return to
non-existence where it originated from.
Second, we see that science in its long and windy
way does slowly but steadily come nearer to the truth. Therefore, a believer
should not keep away from science as from a hostile enemy. Its positive
achievements may enrich the religious understanding. For example, materialists
at the beginning of the 20th century wanted to crush religion with
the help of science. But new scientific discoveries broke the very platform
that the materialists rested on. It was found that matter does not exist as an
independent solid substance. It is only a temporary condensed state of energy,
of this mysterious force, originated somewhere beyond the boundaries of the
physical universe. Bearing the former errors in mind, modern science should
become more modest in its fundamental statements. May the minor human mind bow
to the incomprehensible wisdom of the Maker!
The discovery by science of the composition of the
atom becomes a discovery of the perfection in the creation of the world of a wise
Creator. In addition, it completely changes our concept of matter. Such matter
as the materialists understand it does not exist.
Contemporary science has determined that the prime
basis of matter is energy, and the prime basis of energy is the energy
of light. Now it becomes clear why at the beginning of the formation of
matter, God created light.
In this way, the first lines of the Bible, for our
generation, become the best testimony of the divine inspiration of the Holy
Bible. How else could Moses have known that the creation of the world had
to begin with light, when this has become the attainment of science only in
Thus the author of Genesis, Moses, by divine
inspiration, discovered the mystery of the composition of matter which
was unknown to anyone in those distant times. The discovery of atomic energy,
"the life of the atom," in our days is merely a new proof of divine
"Wondrous are Thy works O Lord, in wisdom
hast Thou made them all."
The Second Day of Creation.
On the second "day" of the world
God created the firmament — that unfathomable space which stretches
above us and surrounds the earth, that is, the heaven visible to us. The second
creative command formed the firmament.
"And God said: let
there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters
from the waters. 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. And God called the firmament heaven. And the evening and the morning were
the second day" (Gen. 1:6-8).
The firmament is the atmosphere, or the visible
heaven (sky). The origin of the firmament, or of the visible heaven, can be
imagined in this way. The immeasurably vast mass of primeval liquid matter
separated, at the command of God, into millions of separate spheres which
revolved on their axes and were carried about, each on its own orbit. The
space that appeared between these spheres became the firmament; for in this
space the movement of the newly created worlds was made firm by the Lord on
definite and irrefutable laws of attraction, so that they neither collide nor
interfere with each other in their movements. The water above the firmament is
the liquid spheres which later hardened and, from the fourth day of creation,
began to shine and twinkle over our heads; and the water under the firmament is
our planet earth, which is stretched out beneath our feet. All this still bore
the name of water, because on the second day of creation it had not yet
received a firm constitution and solid form.
It is worthwhile to note the point of one of the
greatest teachers of the Church, St. John of Damascus, who lived in the VIII
century. In the Irmos of the third ode of the fifth tone he says, "...Who
by Thy command hast fixed the earth upon the void, and hast suspended
its weight by Thine irresistible might." Thus, St. John of Damascus
discovered a scientific truth many centuries before the time when it became
understood by science.
The Third Day of Creation.
On the third "day" of the world
God gathered the water which was under the heaven into one plane, and the dry
land appeared; and God called the dry land earth and the collection
of waters seas; and he commanded the earth to bring forth green
plants, grass and trees. The earth was covered with grass and every
possible kind of plant and tree. Further, the earth receives a form such that
life can appear on it, even though this was still lower life, plant life, to be
"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...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...and God saw that it was
good. And the evening and the morning were the third day" (Gen: 1:9-13).
The separation of water from the dry land on the
third day should not be understood to be as simple as the dividing of already
prepared water, as it were, from the firmer parts of the earth. Water did not
yet exist in the form and chemical composition that we know now. First,
by the creative word of the Lord the formless and unordered matter of our
planet was, on the third day of the world, in two forms. Water and dry land
were created, and the latter immediately produced on its surface various bodies
of water: rivers, lakes and seas. Second, our planet was clothed in a
thin and transparent cover of atmospheric air, and gases appeared with
their many combinations. Third, on the dry land itself, the subject of
creative word was not only the surface of the earth with its mountains,
valleys, and so forth, but also in its inner parts — various layers of earth,
metals, minerals and so on. Fourth, by a special command of the Creator
every possible kind of plant appeared on the earth. Finally, one must
assume that on the third day of the world, the other dark and chaotic masses of
heavenly bodies received their final form, in correspondence with their
purpose, even though the author of Genesis speaks only about the earth. One
should assume this on the basis that, on the second and fourth days, the Lord acted
in the entire cosmos, and thus it could not be that the entire third day was
devoted only to the earth, which is an insignificant speck in the entire
make-up of the universe. One can imagine the creative work of the third day
more clearly in this way. The earth was still a vast sea. Then God said, "Let
the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the
dry land appear: and it was so." The condensing and gradual
cooling matter in some places was lifted up, in other places, it sank down. The
higher places stuck up out of the water, became the dry land, and the
depressions and hollows were filled with the water that poured into them and
became the sea. "And God called the dry land earth; and the
gathering together of the waters he called seas: and God saw that it was
good." The earth still did not have that which was the purpose of its
creation: there was still no life upon it, only barren, dead cliffs stared
darkly upon the bodies of water. When the command for the water and dry land
was fulfilled, and the necessary conditions for life were present, then, at the
word of God, there was no delay in the appearance of its beginnings, in the
form of plants. "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...and God saw that it was
good. And the evening and the morning were the third day."
Certain scientists have found the remains of this
plant life and have been stunned by its enormous size. What today would be a
blade of our fern for example, in primal times was a huge tree. The threads of
contemporary moss in primal times were several feet in perimeter. How could
such a mighty plant life appear without the influence of the rays of the sun,
which shone on the earth only after the fourth day? Scientific research here,
as in many other instances, confirms the writings of Genesis as being
completely undeniable, undistorted truth. Experiments were conducted with electric
light for the development of plant life. One scientist (Famintsin) attained
important results in this regard with the aid of strong light from a simple
kerosene lantern. Thus, the given question, in light of scientific evidence,
loses its force. A much more important objection in this matter should be
considered, namely: in the same layers of earth in which only the first
indications of organic life appeared, in which, according to Genesis, the earth
brought forth only herbs and plant life, there are to be found, together with
the plants, animal organisms: coral, soft-bodied and freshwater animals of the
simplest forms. Even this objection is not insurmountable: the layers of the
earth are not separated from each other by some kind of impenetrable wall. On
the contrary, in the course of the millennia during which the earth has
existed, every kind of movement and change has occurred in the positions of the
layers, and for this reason they are mixed up and often one is found combined
Although plant life could have developed with the
primal light, still its development could not have taken place under such
conditions with the direct purposefulness that is observed nowadays. While
tremendous in size, it was poor in form and color. Evidently, it was in need of
the correct, measured light of the present sun and stars.
The Fourth Day of Creation.
On the fourth "day" of
the world, at the command of God, there shone forth above the earth the
heavenly luminaries, the sun, moon and stars. From that time forth they
have defined the passing of time in our present days, months and years. After
the formation of the earth there follows the arrangement of the heavenly
"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: and
let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the
earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule
the day, the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also...and God
saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day"
The creative command: let there be lights
is obviously different from the command of the Creator: let there be light,
because in one place, the original creation is understood, while in the other,
the creative formation of things already created. Here we must understand that
this is not a new creation but rather the complete formation of the heavenly
How is one to imagine the origin of the heavenly
bodies? In their internal and basic matter, the heavenly luminaries existed
already before the fourth day; they were already the water above the firmament,
from which innumerable spheric bodies were formed on the second day of
creation. Now, on the fourth day, a number of these bodies were formed in such
a way that the primal light was concentrated in them to an extreme degree and
began to act powerfully. This brought about the bodies that shine, or the
luminaries in the strict sense of the word, such as the sun and the stars. Some
of the dark, spherical bodies remained dark, but had been made by the Creator
in such a way that they reflect the light that shines on them from other
bodies, these are planets which shine with borrowed or reflected light, such as
the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and the other planets.
Primordial giant vegetation (and water-borne
micro-organisms) began cleaning the atmosphere from carbonic gases 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,
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
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.
The Fifth Day of Creation.
On the fifth "day" of the world
according to the Word of God, the water brought forth living creatures, that
is, there appeared in the water shellfish, insects, reptiles and fish,
and over the earth, in the firmament, birds began to fly. On the fifth day
animals were created that live in the water and fly in the air.
"And God said, let
the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and the
fowl that might fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven...and God
saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, be fruitful, and multiply,
and fill the waters in the seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth. And
the evening and the morning were the fifth day" (Gen. 1:20-23).
The creative command of God, of course, formed
these creatures from the elements of the earth; but everywhere else, though
even more so here, the formative power belongs to Him, and not to the natural
elements. In the formation of animals, something new was introduced — a higher
principle of life — animated, freely moving, and feeling creatures made their
In giving His blessing to multiply to the
newly-created creatures, God, as it were, gave them the creative power by which
they received their being, that is, He granted them the ability to reproduce
from themselves new beings, each according to its kind.
A more detailed creative action of the fifth day
could be imagined in the following way. The heavens were adorned with stars. On
the earth gigantic plants were spread about, but still, upon the earth there
were no living creatures which could enjoy the gifts of God. The necessary conditions
did not yet exist as the atmosphere was full of harmful gases which could only
aid the plant kingdom. The atmosphere contained so many extra additives, and
especially carbon dioxide, that animal life was still impossible. The
atmosphere had to be cleared of these harmful additives. The gigantic plants
achieved this under the influence of the sun that shone forth on the fourth
day. Carbon dioxide is one of the most necessary elements for plant life, and
as the atmosphere was permeated with it, the newly-created plant life began to
develop in a luxuriant and rapid manner, consuming the carbon dioxide and
clearing the atmosphere of it. Enormous coal deposits are nothing other than
atmospheric carbon dioxide that has been transformed by plant processes into a
solid body. Thus the cleaning of the atmosphere was accomplished, and the
conditions were suitable for the appearance of animal life. It did not take
long for it to appear as the result of a new creative act.
"And God said, let the waters bring forth
abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and the fowl that might fly
above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." As a result of this divine command, a new creative act
took place, not just a formative one, as on the previous days, but a creative
act in the full sense of the word, just like the first act of creating primal
matter out of nothing.
Here there was created "a moving
creature" ("living soul" Septuagint); something new
was introduced, which had not yet existed in the primal matter. Indeed, the
writer of Genesis for the second time, uses the verb bara — "to
create out of nothing." And God created great whales, and every living
creature that moveth, which the water brought forth abundantly, after their
kind, and every winged fowl after its kind.
The most recent geological research explains and
supplements this brief account by the writer of Genesis.
Digging into the depths of the layers of the
earth, geologists reached a layer in which there first appeared the
"living soul." This layer, consequently, is the cradle of animal
life, and in it are found the simplest of the animal organisms.
The most ancient "living soul" known to
geologists is the so-called Eo-zoon of Canada, which is found in the very
lowest levels of the so-called Laurentian period. Afterwards, coral, infusoria
and shellfish of various species appear. Higher in the earth’s levels there
appear the gigantic, monstrous reptiles and lizards. Of these, the best known
are the ichthyosaurs, hileosaurs, plesiosaurs and pterodactyls. They are all
astounding because of their enormous size.
The ichthyosaurus was up to forty feet long, in
the form of a lizard, with the head of a dolphin, the teeth of a crocodile and
a tail equipped with a leathery, fish-like fin. The hileosaurus was up to nine
feet high and was a fearsome type of lizard. The plesiosaurus had the form of a
gigantic turtle with a long neck of twenty feet, a tiny snakelike head and a
stinger six feet long. The pterodactyl was a sort of flying dragon, with wings
like a bat, long head, crocodile teeth and claws in general like a bat, but of
enormous size. Some of these monsters are still to be found nowadays, but the
present ones are tiny midgets in comparison with their ancestors. Perhaps this
is a sign of the decline in the productive powers of the earth.
"And God saw that it was good. And God
blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the
seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning
were the fifth day." (Gen. 1:22-23).
The Sixth Day of Creation.
On the sixth "day" of creation,
according to the Word of God, the earth brought forth a living soul, and there
appeared on the earth animals, that is, cattle, reptiles and beasts. In
conclusion, God created man — man and woman — according to His
image and likeness, that is, spiritually similar to Him.
When He had finished the creation of the entire
visible world with the creation of man, God saw that all He had made was very
On the sixth and final day of creation, the animals
that live on the earth and man were created. Just as the Lord addressed the
water to bring forth fish and reptiles, so now for the bringing forth of the
four-legged creatures He addressed the earth, in the same way as he addressed
it for the bringing forth of plant life. One must understand it in this way:
the Lord granted the earth life-producing power, and not, as certain
naturalists think, that the earth, warmed by the rays of the sun brought forth
the animals on its own. In all the vast realm of nature there is not the
slightest hint that any one kind of animal could have come from another, for
example that grass-eating animals turned into animals of prey. It is even more
contrary to nature that the origin of animal life could have come from inorganic
beginnings, from gases, minerals and the like. "When God said, ‘let the
earth bring forth,’" says St. Basil the Great, "this does not mean
that the earth brings out what was already within her; but He Who gave the
command gave the earth the power to bring it forth" (Hexaemeron).
In accordance with contemporary scientific
research, one can conceive of the history of the sixth day of creation in the
following account. The water and air were filled with life, but a third part of
the earth still remained empty — the dry land, that part which was most
convenient for the life of living creatures. Now the time came for populating
"And God said: let
the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping
thing, and beasts of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the
beasts 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" (Gen. 1:24-25).
Scientific research, rising higher through the
various layers of the earth (after the layer containing the monsters described
above, along with fish and birds), comes across a new layer in which new
organisms appear — the four-legged creatures. First there appeared on the earth
species of enormous four-legged creatures that are no longer to be found:
dinotheres, mastodons and mammoths (a kind of elephant with a huge, awkward
form); then, the more developed animals, and finally, their present forms:
lions, tigers, bears, horned cattle, etc.
On seeing this gradual appearance of various
kinds, science involuntarily poses the question: how did all these species come
to be? Are they unchanging forms that received their beginning in the
creative-formative act or did they slowly appear, one from another, and all
from one primal form?
As is well-known, in the last century Darwin’s
theory of evolution gained wide popularity. How does Darwin’s theory apply to
the Biblical history of creation?
The writer of Genesis says that the plants and
animals were created "according to their kind," that is, not one
plant or animal form, but many plants and animals. This does not mean that all
the forms or variations within a species that exist now had to have their
beginning in the original creative act. The Hebrew word min,
which is translated with the meaning "kind," has a very wide meaning
that is not contained in the scientific meaning of the word
"species." It is broader than this in every way, not including all
the present species and variants of animals and plants; at the same time it
does not deny the possibility of a gradual development of these forms.
That changes can truly occur within a species is
proved by indisputable facts. Many variations of plants, such as roses,
carnations, and dahlias, as well as certain animals, such as some variations of
chickens and pigeons which can be seen in zoos, developed not many centuries
ago. Changes can also occur under the influence of climatic conditions,
different soil, food, and the like. On this basis one can assume that the
number of plant and animal forms in the primal world was not as great and
diversified as at present.
The writer of Genesis, describing the creation in
the strict sense (bara) of the first origins of animal-organic life,
does not categorically deny the possibility of the development of other forms
within a species. However, this does not give any basis for the acceptance of
the theory of development in all its completeness: it clearly and definitely
affirms that the animal and plant organisms were directly created
"according to their kinds," that is, in various definite forms.
This theory does not have any firm basis in
science either, and at the present time has suffered many serious objections.
We will not cite all the scientific reasoning, but will point out at least one.
The well-known American scientist Cressy Morrison (former president of the New
York Academy of Sciences) says:
"The miracle of
genes, a phenomenon which we know testifies to the creation of everything
Genes are so infinitesimally
small that if all the genes of all the people alive in the world today could be
collected together, there would be less than a thimbleful. A thimble would not
even be full! Nonetheless, these ultramicroscopic genes, and the chromosomes
that accompany them, in every living cell of everything alive, are the absolute
keys to all human, animal and vegetable characteristics. A thimble is a small
place in which to put all the individual characteristics of five billion human
beings. However, the facts are beyond question. Do these genes and cytoplasms,
which may be collected in such a tiny space, contain the key to the psychology
of every living creature?
This is where evolution
begins! It begins in the cell which holds and carries the genes. This fact,
that several million atoms contained in the ultramicroscopic gene could be the
absolute key that governs life on earth, proves that there was an intention to
create everything that is alive, that someone foresaw them ahead of time, and
that this foresight comes from a Creative Intelligence. No other hypothesis
here can help solve the riddle of existence."
On the sixth day of creation the earth was already
populated in all its parts. The world of living creatures was like a
magnificent tree, whose roots consisted of the most simple organisms, and whose
highest branches were the highest animals. But this tree was not complete,
there was not yet a blossom which could complete and adorn; there was not yet
man, the king of nature. Now men too appeared.
"And God said: Let
Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and
over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male
and female created He them" (Gen 1:26-27).
Here for the third time a creative act (bara)
occurred in the full sense, for man has in his nature something which had not
been created in nature before, namely spirit, which distinguished him from all
other beings. Thus the history of the creation and formation of the world was
"And God saw every
thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the
morning were the sixth day... And on the seventh day God ended His work which
He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had
made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it."
In the period that follows after this, that is, in
the seventh "day" of the world, which, as the Holy Fathers
teach, is continuing even at the present time, God ceased to create. He blessed
and hallowed this "day," and called it the Sabbath, that is,
"rest;" and He commanded that men also rest on the seventh day from their
regular work and dedicate it to the service of God and neighbor, that is, make
this day free from worldly affairs — a holy day.
Upon completing creation, God left the world to
live and develop according to the plan and laws established by Him, or, as it
is generally said, according to the "laws of nature." At the same
time, He never ceases to care for all creation, granting each creature what is
necessary for life. God’s care for the world is called "Divine
account of the creation of the world is to be found in Genesis, chaps. 1:1-31;
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