A Simplified Summary of Genesis Chapter 1
Here is my “Children’s Version” so named by precision biblical chronologist David Corson, and so named because it is understandable even to fourth graders but also faithful to the original Hebrew. – G.G.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was uninhabited and empty of life, and darkness was on the surface of the ocean. And the Spirit of God is brooding on the surface of the waters.
Then God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good and He divided the light from the darkness. God called the light “Day” and the darkness He called “Night” So there was evening and morning day one.
Then God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it be continually dividing between the waters and the waters. Thus God made the expanse and divided the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse and it was so. And God called the expanse “air.” So there was evening and there was morning, day two.
Exodus 20:11 For six days Yahweh worked on the air, the land and the sea and all that is in them and rested on the seventh day. Job 38:8-9 Who shut up the sea with doors when it broke forth as if it issued from the womb? When I made the cloud its blanket and thick darkness its diaper.
The biosphere is recent in origin, in less that 7000 years but planet earth and the universe are undefined in age in Genesis chapter one. Mistakes have largely come from misleading translations. For example Exodus 20:8-11 sounds unequivocal: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall not do any work … For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.” Yes, it sounds clear.
But it is misleading. The subject is “work and rest” so a better translation is For six days Yahweh worked on the air, the land and the sea and all that is in them… Read through each of the six day work carefully. There is no creation of the heavens and our planet earth during those six days. The stellar heavens and planet earth mineral base were plainly created in verse one before there were any “days” possible on earth. Job 38:9 explains at the birth of the earth, “I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its diaper.” “Let there be light” applies only to the place defined as “dark” which was the “surface of the ocean.” No mortal knows how long that darkness prevailed over the surface of the ocean until God ordered light ot penetrate the “thick darkness” on the first day. Genesis has it, “The earth was uninhabited and empty of life and darkness was on the surface of the ocean.” God specifies the location of the darkness as “on the surface of our ocean,” not throughout the universe. Furthermore, in Genesis 1:8ff God defined raquia shamayim as “expanse of air” where birds fly (also see v20), Hence a better translation of Exodus 20:8 is “For six days Yahweh worked on the air, the land and the sea, and all that is in them and rested the seventh day.” Some readers may know some Hebrew experts. If they are not biased with pre-conceived opinions, have them examine my suggested rendition.
Verse two is often rendered, “the earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep.” This is another totally misleading translation. We all agree that on the sixth day, the earth was fully formed and full of life, so subtract each day’s work, one by one, and determine earth conditions at verse two. You find the earth was fully formed, although empty of life, certainly not “without form” in verse two. As soon as God created the earth, it was fully formed as planet earth but it was “empty” of life until God “filled” the earth with life.
So the universe could be old enough to account for light from distant galaxies and the earth could be old enough to account for isotope ratios in pre-Cambrian and earlier rocks. But all living things were created less than 7000 years ago per the Bible genealogies. See chapter one of The Age of the Universe: What Are the Biblical Limits?