The Untold Story of Creation
BILLIONS of people have read or heard what the Bible says about the beginning of the universe. The 3,500-year-old account starts with the well-known statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Many people, however, are unaware of the fact that Christendom’s leaders, including so-called creationists and fundamentalists, have spun the Bible account of creation into numerous tales that deviate from what the Bible really says. These interpretations fly in the face of scientific fact. Even though those tales are not found in the Bible, they have caused some people to dismiss the Bible account as mythical allegory.
The real Bible story of creation has gone largely unnoticed. This is a shame, for the Bible actually presents a very logical and credible explanation of the beginning of the universe. What is more, that explanation harmonizes with scientific discovery. Yes, you might be pleasantly surprised by the Bible’s untold story of creation! Many people claim that science disproves the Bible’s account of creation. However, the real contradiction is, not between science and the Bible, but between science and the opinions of Christian Fundamentalists. Some of these groups falsely assert that according to the Bible, all physical creation was produced in six 24-hour days approximately 6-10,000 years ago.
The Bible, however, does not support such a conclusion. If it did, then many scientific discoveries over the past one hundred years would indeed discredit the Bible. A careful study of the Bible text reveals no conflict with established scientific facts. For that reason,the Bible disagree with Christian Fundamentalists and many creationists. The following shows what the Bible really teaches.
When Was “the Beginning”?
The Genesis account opens with the simple, powerful statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) A number of Bible scholars agree that this statement describes an action separate from the creative days recounted from verse 3 onward. The implication is profound. According to the Bible’s opening words, the universe, including our planet, Earth, was in existence for an indefinite time before the creative days began.
Geologists estimate that the earth is 4 billion years old, and astronomers calculate that the universe may be as much as 15 billion years old. Do these findings—or their potential future refinements—contradict Genesis 1:1? No. The Bible does not specify the actual age of “the heavens and the earth.” Science is not at odds with the Biblical text.
THE UNCREATED CREATOR
The Bible account of creation hinges on the fact that there is a Supreme Being, Almighty God, who created all things. Who is he, and what is his nature? The Bible reveals that he is quite different from the deities found in popular culture and mainstream religion. He is the Creator of all things, but most people know very little about him.
• God is a person, an individual. He is not a vague force devoid of personality, floating aimlessly throughout the universe. He has thoughts, feelings, and goals.
• God has infinite power and wisdom. This explains the complex design found everywhere in creation, especially in living things.
• God created all physical matter. Hence, he cannot be made of physical elements that he himself has created. Rather, he is of a spiritual, or nonphysical, nature.
• God’s existence is not limited by time. He has always existed and will always exist. Hence, no one created him.
• God has a personal name, which is used almost seven thousands times in the Bible. That name is Yhwh(Jehovah) which means “He causes to become”.
• God loves and cares for humans.
HOW LONG DID GOD TAKE TO CREATE THE UNIVERSE?
The Bible states that God created “the heavens and the earth.” This broad statement, however, makes no reference to the length of time involved in creating the universe or to the methods he used to shape it. What about the widespread creationist belief that God created the universe in six literal 24-hour days? This concept, widely rejected by scientists, is based on a gross misunderstanding of the Bible account. Consider what the Bible really says.
• The Bible does not support fundamentalists and creationists who claim that the creative days were literal 24-hour days.
• The Bible frequently uses the term “day” to designate various periods of time. In some cases these periods are of an unspecified length. The account of creation found in the Bible book of Genesis is one example of this.
• In the Bible account, each of the six creative days could have lasted for thousands of years.
• God had already created the universe, including a lifeless planet Earth, by the time the first creative day began.
• Evidently the six creative days were long periods during which God prepared the earth for human habitation.
• The Bible account of creation does not conflict with scientific conclusions about the age of the universe.
DID GOD USE EVOLUTION?
Many who do not believe in the Bible embrace the theory that living things emerged from lifeless chemicals through unknown and mindless processes. Supposedly, at some point a bacteria-like, self-replicating organism arose, gradually branching out into all the species that exist today. This would imply that ultimately the mind-bogglingly complex human actually evolved from bacteria.
The theory of evolution is also embraced by many who claim to accept the Bible as the word of God. They believe that God produced the first burst of life on earth but then simply monitored, and perhaps steered, the process of evolution. That, however, is not what the Bible says.
• According to the Bible, God created all the basic kinds of plant and animal life, as well as a perfect man and woman who were capable of self-awareness, love, wisdom, and justice.
• The kinds of animals and plants created by God have obviously undergone changes and have produced variations within the kinds. In many cases, the resulting life-forms are remarkably different from one another.
• The Bible account of creation does not conflict with the scientific observation that variations occur within a kind.
A CREATOR PERCEIVED IN CREATION
In the mid-1800’s, British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace agreed with Charles Darwin on the theory of evolution by natural selection. But even this renowned evolutionist is said to have stated: “For those who have eyes to see and minds accustomed to reflect, in the minutest cells, in the blood, in the whole earth, and throughout the stellar universe . . . , there is intelligent and conscious direction; in a word, there is Mind.”
Almost two thousand years before Wallace, the Bible had already observed: “For [God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Romans 1:20) From time to time, you might want to take a moment to reflect on the marvelous complexities found in nature—from a single blade of grass to the countless heavenly bodies. By examining creation you can perceive the Creator.
‘But if there is a loving God who created all things,’ you may ask, ‘why would he permit suffering? Has he abandoned his earthly creation? What does the future hold?’ The Bible contains many other untold stories—truths that have been buried under human ideas and religious agendas and, therefore, hidden from most people.
THE TIME LINE OF CREATION
The material heavens and earth are created.—Genesis 1:1.
The earth is formless, desolate, and dark.—Genesis 1:2.
Diffused light evidently penetrates the earth’s atmosphere. If there had been any observer on the surface of the earth, the sources of light would have been imperceptible to him. Yet, the difference between night and day became discernible.—Genesis 1:3-5
The earth is covered with water and a dense mantle of vapor. These two elements are separated, creating a gap between the watery surface and the canopy of vapor. The Bible describes this space as “an expanse between the waters,” and calls it “Heaven.”—Genesis 1:6-8.
Surface water subsides and dry ground appears. The atmosphere clears up to allow more sunlight to reach the ground. Some vegetation appears, with new species sprouting through the third and subsequent creative days.—Genesis 1:9-13.
The sun and moon become discernible from the earth’s surface.—Genesis 1:14-19.
God creates underwater creatures and flying creatures in great numbers with the ability to procreate within their kinds.—Genesis 1:20-23.
Land animals are created, both large and small. The sixth day culminates with a masterpiece of God’s physical creation: the first human couple.—Genesis 1:24-31.
The Bible does not support fundamentalists and creationists who claim that the creative days were literal 24-hour days.
The Bible account of creation does not conflict with the scientific observation that variations occur within a kind.
How Long Were the Creative Days?
Was all physical creation accomplished in just six days sometime within the past 6,000 to 10,000 years?
The facts disagree with such a conclusion: (1) Light from the Andromeda nebula can be seen on a clear night in the northern hemisphere. It takes about 2,500,000 years for that light to reach the earth, indicating that the universe must be at least millions of years old. (2) End products of radioactive decay in rocks in the earth testify that some rock formations have been undisturbed for billions of years.
Genesis 1:3-31 is not discussing the original creation of matter or of the heavenly bodies. It describes the preparation of the already existing earth for human habitation. This included creation of the basic kinds of vegetation, marine life, flying creatures, land animals, and the first human pair. All of this is said to have been done within a period of six “days.” However, the Hebrew word translated “day” has a variety of meanings, including ‘a long time; the time covering an extraordinary event.’ (Old Testament Word Studies, Grand Rapids, Mich.; 1978, W. Wilson, p. 109) The term used allows for the thought that each “day” could have been thousands of years in length.
What about the length of the creative days? Were they literally 24 hours long? Some claim that because Moses—the writer of Genesis—later referred to the day that followed the six creative days as a model for the weekly Sabbath, each of the creative days must be literally 24 hours long. (Exodus 20:11) Does the wording of Genesis support this conclusion?
No, it does not. The fact is that the Hebrew word translated “day” can mean various lengths of time, not just a 24-hour period. For example, when summarizing God’s creative work, Moses refers to all six creative days as one day. (Genesis 2:4) In addition, on the first creative day, “God began calling the light Day, but the darkness he called Night.” (Genesis 1:5) Here, only a portion of a 24-hour period is defined by the term “day.” Certainly, there is no basis in Scripture for arbitrarily stating that each creative day was 24 hours long.
How long, then, were the creative days? The Bible does not say; however, the wording of Genesis chapters 1 and 2 indicates that considerable lengths of time were involved.
So, The Bible does not specify the length of each of the creative periods. Yet all six of them have ended, it being said with respect to the sixth day (as in the case of each of the preceding five days): “And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a sixth day.” (Ge 1:31)
However, this statement is not made regarding the seventh day, on which God proceeded to rest, indicating that it continued. (Ge 2:1-3) Also, more than 4,000 years after the seventh day, or God’s rest day, commenced, Paul indicated that it was still in progress. At Hebrews 4:1-11 he referred to the earlier words of David (Ps 95:7, 8, 11) and to Genesis 2:2 and urged: “Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest.” By the apostle’s time, the seventh day had been continuing for thousands of years and had not yet ended. That is now 2000 years since it was written, so in total the seventh day have lasted atleast 6000 years already and we are still waiting for the 1000 year Reign to even begin.
The Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ, who is Scripturally identified as “Lord of the sabbath” (Mt 12:8), is evidently part of the great sabbath, God’s rest day. (Re 20:1-6) This would also indicate the passing of thousands of years from the commencement of God’s rest day to its end. The week of days set forth at Genesis 1:3 to 2:3, the last of which is a sabbath, seems to parallel the week into which the Israelites divided their time, observing a sabbath on the seventh day thereof, in keeping with the divine will. (Ex 20:8-11) And, since the seventh day has been continuing for thousands of years, it may reasonably be concluded that each of the six creative periods, or days, was at least many thousands of years in length.
Six Creative Periods
Moses wrote his account in Hebrew, and he wrote it from the perspective of a person standing on the surface of the earth. These two facts combined with the knowledge that the universe existed before the beginning of the creative periods, or days, help to defuse much of the controversy surrounding the creation account.
How could God produce light on the first day if the luminaries were not made until the fourth day?
The Hebrew word rendered “make” in Ge 1 verse 16 is not the same as the word for “create” used in Genesis 1:1, 21, 27 chapter 1, verses 1, 21, and 27. “The heavens” that included the luminaries were created long before the “first day” even began. But their light did not reach the surface of the earth. On the first day, “there came to be light” because diffused light penetrated the cloud layers and became visible on the earth. The rotating earth thus began to have alternating day and night. (Genesis 1:1-3, 5) The sources of that light still remained invisible from the earth. During the fourth creative period, however, a notable change took place. The sun, the moon, and the stars were now made “to shine upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:17) “God proceeded to make” them in that they could now be seen from the earth.
A careful consideration of the Genesis account reveals that events starting during one “day” continued into one or more of the following “days.” For example, before the first creative “day” started, light from the already existing sun was somehow prevented from reaching the earth’s surface, possibly by thick clouds. (Job 38:9) During the first “day,” this barrier began to clear, allowing diffused light to penetrate the atmosphere. In the description of what happened on the first “day,” the Hebrew word used for light is ’ohr, light in a general sense, but concerning the fourth “day,” the word used is ma·’ohr′, which refers to the source of light.
On the second “day,” the atmosphere evidently continued to clear, creating a space between the thick clouds above and the ocean below. On the fourth “day,” the atmosphere gradually cleared to such an extent that the sun and the moon were made to appear “in the expanse of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:14-16) In other words, from the perspective of a person on earth, the sun and moon began to be discernible. These events happened gradually.
The Genesis account also relates that as the atmosphere continued to clear, flying creatures—including insects and membrane-winged creatures—started to appear on the fifth “day.”
The Bible’s narrative allows for the possibility that some major events during each day, or creative period, occurred gradually rather than instantly, perhaps some of them even lasting into the following creative days. For example, during the sixth creative day, God decreed that humans “become many and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28, 31) Yet, this event did not even begin to occur until the following “day.”—Genesis 2:2.
Contrary to the claims of some religious fundamentalists, Genesis does not teach that the universe, including the earth and all living things on it, was created in a short period of time in the relatively recent past. Rather, aspects of the description in Genesis of the creation of the universe and the appearance of life on earth harmonize with recent scientific discoveries.
Because of their philosophical beliefs, many scientists reject the Bible’s declaration that God created all things. Interestingly, however, in the ancient Bible book of Genesis, Moses wrote that the universe had a beginning and that life appeared in stages, progressively, over periods of time. How could Moses gain access to such scientifically accurate information some 3,500 years ago? There is one logical explanation. The One with the power and wisdom to create the heavens and the earth could certainly give Moses such advanced knowledge. This gives weight to the Bible’s claim that it is “inspired of God.”—2 Timothy 3:16.
According to Their Kinds
Does this progressive appearance of plants and animals imply that God used evolution to produce the vast diversity of living things? No. The record clearly states that God created all the basic “kinds” of plant and animal life. (Genesis 1:11, 12, 20-25) Were these original “kinds” of plants and animals programmed with the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions? What defines the boundary of a “kind”? The Bible does not say. However, it does state that living creatures “swarmed forth according to their kinds.” (Genesis 1:21) This statement implies that there is a limit to the amount of variation that can occur within a “kind.” Both the fossil record and modern research support the idea that the fundamental categories of plants and animals have changed little over vast periods of time.
Modern research confirms that all living things reproduce “according to their kinds”.
You may wonder, though, does it really matter whether you believe the Bible’s account of creation? Read on and consider some compelling reasons why the answer does matter.
Who is the Creator?
Definition: Creation, as explained in the Bible, means that Almighty God designed and brought into existence the universe, including other spirit persons and all the basic kinds of life upon the earth. The Hebrew ba·raʼ′ and the Greekkti′zo, both meaning “create,” are used exclusively with reference to divine creation.
Throughout the Scriptures Jehovah God(YHWH) is identified as the Creator.
He is “the Creator of the heavens, . . . the Former of the earth and the Maker of it.” (Isa 45:18) He is “the Former of the mountains and the Creator of the wind” (Am 4:13) and is “the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them.” (Ac 4:24; 14:15; 17:24) “God . . . created all things.” (Eph 3:9) Jesus Christ recognized Jehovah as the One who created humans, making them male and female. (Mt 19:4; Mr 10:6) Hence, Jehovah is fittingly and uniquely called “the Creator.”—Isa 40:28.
It is because of God’s will that all things “existed and were created.” (Re 4:11) Jehovah, who has existed for all time, was alone before creation had a beginning.—Ps 90:1, 2; 1Ti 1:17.
While Jehovah, who is a Spirit (Joh 4:24; 2Co 3:17), has always existed, that is not true of the matter of which the universe is made. Hence, when creating the literal heavens and earth, Jehovah did not use preexistent material. This is clear from Genesis 1:1, which says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If matter had always existed, it would have been inappropriate to use the term “beginning” with reference to material things. However, after creating the earth, God did form “from the ground every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens.” (Ge 2:19) He also formed man “out of dust from the ground,” blowing into his nostrils the breath of life so that the man became a living soul.—Ge 2:7.
Appropriately Psalm 33:6 says: “By the word of Jehovah the heavens themselves were made, and by the spirit of his mouth all their army.” While the earth was yet “formless and waste,” with “darkness upon the surface of the watery deep,” it was God’s active force that was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters. (Ge 1:2) Thus, God used his active force, or “spirit” (Heb., ru′ach), to accomplish his creative purpose. The things he has created testify not only to his power but also to his Godship. (Jer 10:12; Ro 1:19, 20) And, as Jehovah “is a God, not of disorder, but of peace” (1Co 14:33), his creative work is marked with orderliness rather than chaos or chance. Jehovah reminded Job that He had taken specific steps in founding the earth and barricading the sea and indicated that there exist “statutes of the heavens.” (Job 38:1, 4-11, 31-33) Furthermore, God’s creative and other works are perfect.—De 32:4; Ec 3:14.
Jehovah’s first creation was his “only-begotten Son” (Joh 3:16), “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Re 3:14) This one, “the firstborn of all creation,” was used by Jehovah in creating all other things, those in the heavens and those upon the earth, “the things visible and the things invisible.” (Col 1:15-17) John’s inspired testimony concerning this Son, the Word, is that “all things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence,” and the apostle identifies the Word as Jesus Christ, who had become flesh. (Joh 1:1-4, 10, 14, 17) As wisdom personified, this One is represented as saying, “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way,” and he tells of his association with God the Creator as Jehovah’s “master worker.” (Pr 8:12, 22-31) In view of the close association of Jehovah and his only-begotten Son in creative activity and because that Son is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15; 2Co 4:4), it was evidently to His only-begotten Son and master worker that Jehovah spoke in saying, “Let us make man in our image.”—Ge 1:26.
After creating his only-begotten Son, Jehovah used him in bringing the heavenly angels into existence. This preceded the founding of the earth, as Jehovah revealed when questioning Job and asking him: “Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth . . . when the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause?” (Job 38:4-7) It was after the creation of these heavenly spirit creatures that the material heavens and earth and all elements were made, or brought into existence. And, since Jehovah is the one primarily responsible for all this creative work, it is ascribed to him.—Ne 9:6; Ps 136:1, 5-9.
In this modern, scientific world, is it reasonable to believe in creation?
“The natural laws of the universe are so precise that we have no difficulty building a spaceship to fly to the moon and can time the flight with the precision of a fraction of a second. These laws must have been set by somebody.”—Quoted from Wernher von Braun, who had much to do with sending American astronauts to the moon.
Physical universe: If you found a precision timepiece, would you conclude that it was formed by a chance blowing together of some dust particles? Obviously, someone with intelligence made it. There is an even more magnificent “clock.” The planets in our solar system, also the stars in the entire universe, move at a rate that is more precise than most clocks designed and manufactured by man. The galaxy in which our solar system is located includes over 100 billion stars, and astronomers estimate that there are 100 billion of such galaxies in the universe. If a clock is evidence of intelligent design, how much more so is the far more vast and complicated universe! The Bible describes the Designer of it as “the true God, Jehovah, . . . the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out.”—Isa. 42:5; 40:26; Ps. 19:1.
Planet Earth: When crossing a barren desert, if you came to a beautiful house, well equipped in every way and stocked with food, would you believe that it got there by some chance explosion? No; you would realize that someone with considerable wisdom built it. Well, scientists have not yet found life on any of the planets of our solar system except the earth; available evidence indicates that the others are barren. This planet is, as the book The Earth says, “the wonder of the universe, a unique sphere.” (New York, 1963, Arthur Beiser, p. 10) It is at just the right distance from the sun for human life, and it moves at just the right speed to be held in orbit. The atmosphere, of a kind found only around the earth, is made up of just the right proportion of gases to sustain life. Marvelously, light from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air, and water and minerals from fertile soil combine to produce food for earth’s inhabitants. Did it all come about as a result of some uncontrolled explosion in space? Science News admits: “It seems as if such particular and precise conditions could hardly have arisen at random.” (August 24 and 31, 1974, p. 124) The Bible’s conclusion is reasonable when it states: “Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God.”—Heb. 3:4.
Human brain: Modern computers are a product of intensive research and careful engineering. They did not “just happen.” What about the human brain? Unlike the brain of any animal, the brain of a human infant triples in size during its first year. How it functions is still largely a mystery to scientists. In humans, there is the built-in capacity to learn complex languages, to appreciate beauty, to compose music, to contemplate the origin and meaning of life. Said brain surgeon Robert White: “I am left with no choice but to acknowledge the existence of a Superior Intellect, responsible for the design and development of the incredible brain-mind relationship—something far beyond man’s capacity to understand.” (The Reader’s Digest, September 1978, p. 99) The development of this marvel begins from a tiny fertilized cell in the womb. With remarkable insight, the Bible writer David said to Jehovah: “I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware.”—Ps. 139:14.
If it takes an intelligent entity to create and program a lifeless robot, what would it take to create a living cell, let alone a human?
Living cell: A single living cell is sometimes referred to as being a “simple” form of life. But a one-celled animal can catch food, digest it, get rid of wastes, build a house for itself and engage in sexual activity. Each cell of the human body has been likened to a walled city, with a central government to maintain order, a power plant to generate energy, factories to produce proteins, a complex transportation system, and guards to regulate what is permitted to enter. And a single human body is made up of as many as 100 trillion cells. How appropriate the words of Psalm 104:24: “How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made”!
Does the Bible allow for the idea that God used evolution to produce the various kinds of living things?
Genesis 1:11, 12 says that grass and trees were made to produce each “according to its kind.” Verses 21, 24, 25 add that God created sea creatures, flying creatures and land animals, each “according to its kind.” There is no allowance here for one basic kind to evolve or change into another.
Regarding man, Genesis 1:26 reports that God said: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” So he was to have godlike qualities, not traits that were simply a development of those of a beast. Genesis 2:7 adds: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man [not out of some preexisting life form but] out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life.” There is no hint of evolution here, but, rather, description of a new creation.
Did God create all the millions of varieties of organisms that exist on earth today?
Genesis chapter 1 says simply that God created each “according to its kind.” (Gen. 1:12, 21, 24, 25) In preparation for the global Flood in Noah’s day, God directed that representative members of each “kind” of land animal and flying creature be taken into the ark. (Gen. 7:2, 3, 14) Each “kind” has the genetic potential for great variety. Thus there are reportedly more than 400 different breeds of dogs and upwards of 250 breeds and types of horses. All interfertile varieties of any animal are just one Genesis “kind.” Similarly, all varieties of humans—Oriental, African, Caucasian, those as tall as the seven-foot Dinka in the Sudan and as short as the four-foot-four-inch Pygmies—stem from the one original pair, Adam and Eve.—Gen. 1:27, 28; 3:20.
What accounts for the basic similarities in the structure of living things?
“God . . . created all things.” (Eph. 3:9) Thus everything has the same Great Designer.
“All things came into existence through him [God’s only-begotten Son, who became Jesus Christ when on earth], and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.” (John 1:3) Thus there was one Master Worker through whom Jehovah performed his works of creation.—Prov. 8:22, 30, 31.
What is the origin of the raw material of which the universe is made?
Scientists have learned that matter is a concentrated form of energy. This is demonstrated with the explosion of nuclear weapons. Astrophysicist Josip Kleczek states: “Most and possibly all elementary particles may be created by materialization of energy.”—The Universe (Boston, 1976), Vol. 11, p. 17.
From where could such energy come? After asking, “Who has created these things [the stars and planets]?”, the Bible states regarding Jehovah God, “Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one of them is missing.” (Isa. 40:26) So God himself is the Source of all the “dynamic energy” that was needed to create the universe.
Created Things Preceded Man’s Inventions.
Thousands of years before many of man’s inventions appeared on the scene, Jehovah had provided his creations with their own versions of them. For example, the flight of birds preceded by millenniums the development of airplanes. The chambered nautilus and the cuttlefish use flotation tanks to descend and ascend in the ocean as submarines do. Octopus and squid employ jet propulsion. Bats and dolphins are experts with sonar. Several reptiles and sea birds have their own built-in “desalination plants” that enable them to drink seawater.
By ingeniously designed nests and their use of water, termites air-condition their homes. Microscopic plants, insects, fish, and trees use their own form of “antifreeze.” Small fractions of temperature change are sensed by the built-in thermometers of some snakes, mosquitoes, mallee birds, and brush turkeys. Hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets make paper.
Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the electric light bulb, but its loss of energy through heat is a drawback. Jehovah’s creations—sponges, fungi, bacteria, glowworms, insects, fish—produce cold light and in many colors.
Many migrating birds not only have compasses in their heads but they also have biological clocks. Some microscopic bacteria have rotary motors that they can run forward or in reverse.
It is not without good reason that Psalm 104:24 says: “How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions.”
Did the Bible borrow from Babylonian creation stories?
Some persons seek to associate the Biblical account of creation with mythological pagan accounts, such as the well-known Babylonian Creation Epic. Actually, there were various creation stories in ancient Babylon, but the one that has become well known is a myth having to do with Marduk, Babylon’s national god. Briefly, the story tells of the existence of the goddess Tiamat and the god Apsu, who became the parents of other deities. The activities of these gods became so distressing to Apsu that he determined to destroy them. However, Apsu was killed by one of these gods, Ea, and when Tiamat sought to avenge Apsu, she was killed by Ea’s son Marduk, who then split her body, using half of it to form the sky and using the other half in connection with the earth’s establishment. Marduk’s subsequent acts included creating mankind (with Ea’s aid), using the blood of another god, Kingu, the director of Tiamat’s hosts.
In his book, P. J. Wiseman points out that, when the Babylonian creation tablets were first discovered, some scholars expected further discovery and research to show that there was a correspondency between them and the Genesis account of creation. Some thought that it would become apparent that the Genesis account was borrowed from the Babylonian. However, further discovery and research have merely made apparent the great gulf between the two accounts. They do not parallel each other.
Wiseman quotes The Babylonian Legends of the Creation and the Fight Between Bel and the Dragon, issued by the Trustees of the British Museum, who hold that “the fundamental conceptions of the Babylonian and Hebrew accounts are essentially different.” He himself observes: “It is more than a pity that many theologians, instead of keeping abreast of modern archaeological research, continue to repeat the now disproved theory of Hebrew ‘borrowings’ from Babylonian sources.”—Creation Revealed in Six Days, London, 1949, p. 58.
While some have pointed to what seemed to them to have been similarities between the Babylonian epic and the Genesis account of creation, it is readily apparent from the preceding consideration of the Biblical creation narrative and the foregoing epitome of the Babylonian myth that they are not really similar. Therefore, a detailed analysis of them side by side is unnecessary.
However, in considering seeming similarities and differences (such as the order of events) in these accounts, Professor George A. Barton observed: “A more important difference lies in the religious conceptions of the two. The Babylonian poem is mythological and polytheistic. Its conception of deity is by no means exalted. Its gods love and hate, they scheme and plot, fight and destroy. Marduk, the champion, conquers only after a fierce struggle, which taxes his powers to the utmost.
Genesis, on the other hand, reflects the most exalted monotheism. God is so thoroughly the master of all the elements of the universe, that they obey his slightest word. He controls all without effort. He speaks and it is done. Granting, as most scholars do, that there is a connection between the two narratives, there is no better measure of the inspiration of the Biblical account than to put it side by side with the Babylonian. As we read the chapter in Genesis today, it still reveals to us the majesty and power of the one God, and creates in the modern man, as it did in the ancient Hebrew, a worshipful attitude toward the Creator.”—Archaeology and the Bible,1949, pp. 297, 298.
Regarding ancient creation myths in general, it has been stated: “No myth has yet been found which explicitly refers to the creation of the universe, and those concerned with the organization of the universe and its cultural processes, the creation of man and the establishment of civilization are marked by polytheism and the struggles of deities for supremacy in marked contrast to the Heb. monotheism of Gn. 1-2.”—New Bible Dictionary,edited by J. Douglas, 1985, p. 247.