The Order of Creation

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty. There was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water. (Genesis 1:1)

God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Bible day

God…

Approximate Age (Million years ago) according to the Geological record

Scientific Discipline

1

Said let there be light

13700 (~14 billion)

The big bang

Astronomy

   

4500 Origin of the solar system

Planetology

2

Created land to separate the sea

4000

Geology
 

Created life
(bacteria)

3600

Earliest life

Paleontology
  Created life ~1000 Primitive life

3

Created vegetation

700

Paleobotany

  Life flourished 540 Abundant early life Paleontology
4 Created the sun moon & stars sun ~4600
moon ~4500
stars - ongoing
 

5

Created fish

440

Paleontology
 

Created Abundant plants

350

 

Created reptiles

300

5

Created birds

150

6

Created livestock & wild animals

100

6

Created man

~1

Anthropology

7

Rested

 

History

Bible Day

God…

Approximate Age
Million years ago

Geological Record

Scientific Discipline

God created the world. What evidence do we have for that? The minds of most people over the course of history have led them to believe in a power higher than man, and cultures and religions assign characteristics to this creator whom we call God. Science will never prove or disprove God's existence; that's not science's role, but the presence of an intelligent being is reasonable as Creator. If we accept the big bang as a starting point for our universe, one might ask what existed before the big bang? Furthermore, if our universe is expanding, into what is it expanding? We have great difficulty coming up with an answer, either in theory or from data that shows the conditions of the big bang are statistically quite unlikely. A way around this problem is to call upon the will of the Designer to set the conditions just right.  Moreover, if He can create matter and energy, why could he not also create time/space. Such a concept is difficult for us to understand, but it is not inconceivable. All people do not have to agree on the characteristics ascribed to God. In fact, the essential description of God is nothing more than God is He, Who created the universe. Other descriptions of a loving, merciful, and fair God also make sense, and are useful for people to structure their relationship with Him. However, the reasonable idea of a God's existence requires only a Being to create all that is visible and invisible and to enact the laws of nature.

It is not necessary to believe that God interacts with His laws and people, but it is not implausible either. In fact, reason seems to demand it. If God did create people in His image, then we should not be surprised if He watches over them. The interaction between God and man could be as simple as caring for the welfare of our soul, or it could be as dramatic as miracles. As a recent example, we have yet to find a physical explanation of how the sun seemed to dance in the sky over Fatima, Portugal on October 13, 1917, as reported by tens of thousands of people, even those many miles from the apparition. People are still alive who witnessed that event. Even if at some later time, we discover a new atmospheric phenomenon to explain the event, what are the odds against it happening just at the time and place of Mary's promise of a sign?

Clearly the "creationism" viewpoint of an earth created in seven earth days is refuted by evidence in the geologic record.  The order of creation shown in the table above illustrates the consistency between the order of events known from the geological record and the order described in Genesis. The only event that is out of order is Day 4 when God is said to have created the sun, moon, and stars; whereas, on the first day God let there be light. Inasmuch as the order of events that apply to the earth are correct, it is possible that the author of Genesis was more interested in describing the concept of creation than in astronomical events.

The point of these paragraphs is to suggest that creation and the scientific disciplines of astronomy and geology are not exclusive.  It makes sense for an intelligent being to have instituted the laws of nature, created matter, energy, space, time, and life, including angels to watch over us while allowing the universe to function according to His laws.

J. J. Friel, Ph. D.

For more thoughts on evolution, and God, click here.