God said: 'Let there be light.' God's first creation was light, coming from the fiery Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. [See Origin 1.1]
Light is the primary requirement for life. Light is so amazing that it cannot be defined by anything other than itself. It is the prerequisite for all life. See Origin 1.2.2 for the qualities of light, physically and spiritually.
Billions of years passed between Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 1:3.
(NOTE: The Biblical account of creation is seen from perspective of earth. There was light outside the earth from first moment of the Big Bang, but light could not begin to glow through the intense heat and dense cloud cover until billions of years later.)
God said: 'Let there be an expanse between the waters ... so God separated the water under the expanse from the water above it.' The enormous cloud of cooling gasses and dust collapsed over the first 10 billion years to form the solid earth.
Violent collisions with comets and asteroids and condensing steam brought water, eventually covering the earth's crust. God created an atmosphere ('expanse') of life-sustaining air between ocean and cloud.
The atmosphere makes earth habitable by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun to warm earth's surface, bring rain for vegetation and hold air for breathing.
God said: 'Let dry ground appear ... let the land produce vegetation.' As temperature changed on earth's surface, the thickening crust (floating on molten rock) began cracking, shifting and buckling. Some of the crust was thrust above water to form dry land.
At first, there was total darkness on earth, but eventually light began to glow through the dense cloud cover, enough to support simple organic life.
Starting with single cell organisms fed by photosynthesis and water, life and the food chain began in sea and land about four billion years ago.
(NOTE: The Biblical account of creation is seen from human perspective of land on earth. First life on earth was tiny organisms like bacteria. Then vegetation started in water and gradually spread and adapted to land. Ancient people would not have understood micro organisms and biological processes, so the Bible skips directly to the food chain they knew.)
God said: 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky ... let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years ... God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.'
All celestial bodies were created from the Big Bang, starting as formless spinning fireballs, too hot and gaseous for light to penetrate. It took billions of years for them to cool, merge, solidify and achieve stable orbits.
Eventually there were breaks in the clouds so sun, moon and stars became visible from earth.
(NOTE: For centuries the Bible's creation order was used by critics as irrefutable proof that the Bible is NOT trustworthy – impossible to have light (Day 1) and organic growth (Day 3) before sun (Day 4) – but now that we understand the Big Bang, the creation order shows that the Bible IS trustworthy because no writer three thousand years ago could have possibly known this modern science without some direct knowledge from the designer/creator.)
God said: 'Let the water team with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.'
With direct sunlight, vegetation proliferated, especially in water, and became an abundant food source for a new category of life – fish – which God created about 500 million years ago.
Then something very interesting happened. A new kind of creature appears, known to us as dinosaurs. We now know from archaeology that there were more than 700 species of dinosaurs of all sizes and types – from five pounds to fifty tons, some walked, some swam, some flew – and they dominated the earth for 175 million years!
This is particularly interesting because scientists now believe that modern birds are descendants of small avian dinosaurs that escaped the mass extinction 66 million years ago which killed non-flying dinosaurs and three-fourths of other species of life on earth, caused by an enormous meteorite collision and resulting volcanic eruptions.
Dinosaurs were the dominant part of God's creation in Day 5, but the Bible never mentions them, probably because dinosaurs went extinct and no one in Bible times could comprehend the time scale or believe that these kind of creatures actually existed before the science of archaeology. The Bible account skips dinosaurs and goes direct from fish to birds.
'God blessed them and said, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let birds increase on earth.'
There was extensive evolution and proliferation of fish and birds throughout the earth, expanding the food chain, getting ready for the next stage of life.
God said: 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals ...'
Shortly after the great extinction 66 million years ago, God created a new kind of creature – animals – adapted to the new environment and reproducing with live births instead of eggs.
Then, about four million years ago, a new kind of creature appears, known to us as hominins, with physical form very similar to apes and humans, all having 95-97% identical DNA. The Bible never mentions hominins, probably because they went extinct and because no one in Bible times could comprehend biology or millions of years. The Bible account goes direct from animals to humans.
The last known hominin population (Neanderthals) was in Europe and vanished suddenly about 30,000 years ago.
Archaeological digs reveal the first evidence of humans about 40,000 years ago. Hominins and humans apparently coexisted at one time, and apparently there was some interbreeding because today Europeans and Asians have approximately 2% Neanderthal DNA, but other groups have little or none. This low percentage is further evidence that humans did not evolve from hominins.
Humans have been on earth for much longer than most people could even imagine before modern archaeology and scientific testing.
God said: 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move upon the ground.'
Humans! The concluding act of the six days (ages) of creation, the grand finale! Humans are a special creation by God, made in likeness of God, not evolved, created with capacity to have a relationship with God and to rule the earth – the crowning jewel of God's creation!
The Bible account of the six days (ages) of creation ends with these words: 'Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array ... And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy [worthy of honor], because on it he rested [paused] from all the work of creating he had done.'
A concluding statement used to end each of the other six individual days is not used for the seventh day, meaning that this day has not yet ended. We are still in the seventh day (age). God is not making new kinds of creations now, but procreation continues, and God has equipped humans to rule the earth and do creative work to further fashion life on earth.
Other portions of the Bible tell us that in a future day (age), God will take back rule of the earth from humans and will resume new creative work here ... a new heaven and a new earth.
In the English translation of Genesis 1, each stage of creation is called a 'day'. In the original Hebrew language in which the biblical account was written, the word is 'yom.'
Just as in English, Hebrew 'yom' can mean either a 24-hour period or a long indefinite period, depending upon context (as, this is day of the jet plane, not day of the sailing ship).
The Bible is its own best interpreter. See Origin 1.2.1 for REASONS FROM THE BIBLE why 'yom' should be understood to be a long period of time.
The Bible gives sequential order, but not times. The order summarized here is confirmed by cosmologists, geologists, biologists and archaeologists. Now modern science is filling in the time blanks, and a re-reading of Genesis 1 opens our eyes to new understanding of God's unfolding master plan.
Some Christians say that the earth is not old but just looks old, that it was created about 6000 years ago with built-in apparent age. There are serious problems with the apparent age theory, discussed in Origin 1.2.3. All objective evidence, even the Bible itself [see Origin 1.2.1], shows that earth is in fact very, very old.
'God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.' (Genesis 1:27)
'The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being' (Genesis 2:7).
Text books often use a cartoon-like drawing to teach that humans evolved from apes or a common animal ancestor. The drawing usually shows a series of six or more creatures with changing physical characteristics, starting with an ape on one end and a man on the other, with part-ape and part-man creatures morphing in-between.
All of life evolving from a single cell is contrary to what the Bible says and what common sense observation shows. God created life at specific times in specific categories. The categories are walled:
Light never turns into water ... water never turns into mineral ... mineral never turns into vegetation ... vegetation never turns into fish ... fish never turns into bird ... bird never turns into animal ... animal never turns into human.
There is no continuous line (missing links) of in-between creatures.
Furthermore, the qualities that most separate humans from animals are not evolutionary, such as laughter, music, mathematics, language and worship. These qualities are unique to humans and not found in other creatures.
'And God created every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird accord to its kind. And God saw that it was good.' (Genesis 1:21)
'And God said, Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move upon the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind. And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.' (Genesis 1:24-25)
Simple observation shows that there is no evolution from one major category to another, but simple observation also shows that there IS abundant evolution within each category, continuing to this day. This adaptation to change over time is God's method of continuous improvement, an awesome unfolding design plan.
'Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all creatures that move along the ground. God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.' Genesis 1:26-27)
Humans were created as a unique kind, not evolved from other kinds. The amazing qualities and possibilities of a life made in the image of God is discussed in Purpose 2.5.