Articles in the extensive Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible
are in harmony with the Young Biosphere Creation model.
“At first reading, the beginning vv. of Genesis may be puzzling because they seem to imply that night and day occurred before God made the sun and moon. Actually, the record may be a good description of the earth’s early development if the picture is drawn from the point of view of a hypothetical observer on the earth watching the gradual clearing of a misty atmosphere. At first the clouds became thin enough for night and day to be distinguished, and only later did the discs of the sun and moon, which already were in existence, become visible. Finally, even the stars could be seen. The Scofield Bible notes the difference between the Heb. word בָּרָא֒, H1343, tr. “created,” and the word עָשָׂה֒, H6913, tr. “made,” and suggests that in Genesis 1:7, 16, 25f. “God made” has the meaning of “God made visible,” in contrast with the three definite creative acts for the heavens and earth (v. 1), the animals (v. 21), and mankind (v. 27).”
This YBC model is also favored in the same reference work’s article on “Creation”. Here there is additional agreement in Gorman Gray’s exposition, who brought out that the Genesis one narrative assumes the perspective of a hypothetical observer on planet earth.
“The standpoint of the narrative is an ideal one, being that of a geocentric observer who would experience the unfolding of creation and life differently from what an extra-terrestrial observer would. Given this standpoint the narrative conforms remarkably to what such descriptive sciences as astronomy, biology and geology have to say about the origins of the world. It would be some time before the initial cloud cover thinned out sufficiently to allow the rays of either end of the spectrum to reach the earth, and longer still before sunlight and moonlight as such were recognizable features of existence.”
This Encyclopedia also confirms Mr. Gray’s interpretation of Day four (Gen. 1:14-19). The article on “Cosmogony” indicates the original creation of the solar heavens and planet earth in Genesis 1:1 prior to the creative actions of Genesis 1:3ff:
“If these days were twenty-four hour segments, then the creation (Gen 1:1, 2) can be posited to have taken place a long time before (with or without a proposed chaotic interlude). . . At any rate, the picture of Genesis 1 sets forth that the original creation occurred at an unspecified period in the past.”
The same article on Cosmogony agrees with the YBC view of God’s Day four’s activity:
“A proposed problem that light was created on the first day but that the sun appears later on the fourth can be solved by positing the sun breaking through the dense atmosphere of the earth on the fourth day at a time naturally later than the separation of the waters of the heaven (on the second day) and the appearance of the dry land, earth (on the third day)”
Editor: Merrill C. Tenney.
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