Moderator's Note: If there are any two other books of the Bible that cause more argument than these two, I don't know what they are. And yet here is the foundation of the Bible itself. A simple, straightforward reading in any language yields the story that the universe itself, earth, and life itself, including human beings, were created in six 24-hour days. However this is strongly and widely challenged by current science, which declares on the basis, primarily, of radiodecay dating, that the universe is somewhere between 10 and 15 billion years old and that the earth itself is about 4.5 billion years old, with life as we know it today all evolving through a process of change and natural selection from an initial unicellular organism. In other words, standard science today directly contradicts Genesis 1 and 2. So there are a number of ways people have tried to reconcile the two. The three main ways are the "Gap Model," the "Day-Age Model" and the model which simply claims that the creation story in Genesis is allegorical and not historically true. In the evolution/creation forum here at Baptist Board, there have been some extended discussions about each of these ideas, so rather than go into them in detail here, I will link the discussions which have occurred there: The Gap Theory -- this states, essentially, that there is a very large time gap between Genesis 1 and 2. It also usually states that there was a pre-Adamic race of humans who populated the earth during this gap time, and that Satan's activity caused a devastating Flood which left all the fossils. THEN the earth was re-made in six days. Discussions regarding the Gap theory can be found here: http://www.baptistboard.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=36&t=000046&p= The Day-Age Theory -- This theory claims that each of the days of Genesis was really a very long era, or age. This discussion can be found here: http://www.baptistboard.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=36&t=000029&p= Genesis is a Myth or Allegory -- This states that although the creation story of Genesis contains moral and spiritual truths, it did not really happen as stated. You will find parts of this discussion in the above two links as well as here: http://www.baptistboard.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=36&t=000045&p= and http://www.baptistboard.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=36&t=000050&p= The historical Christian (and Jewish) approach to Genesis 1-2 is that it is literally true. The early Christian Church and belief in a recent creation according to Genesis was researched quite well by Robert Bradshaw and his material is in a book on the net here: http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/Contents.htm Because the first five books of the Bible are referred to as the Books of Moses, or the Law of Moses (The Torah), the historic tradition is that Moses wrote Genesis himself, either as a matter of direct inspiration from God or as a collected group of oral histories brought down through time. Starting in the 1930's however, some archaeological finds caused another theory to surface. This theory, called the Tablet Theory, claims that Genesis not only gives every indication of being a series of eyewitness accounts, but that there are indications within the text itself that this may be exactly what it is. This theory is becoming more and more widely held today by Old Testament scholars who are reviewing the evidence. A good summary of what the Tablet theory is about and the evidence for it may be found here: http://www.ldolphin.org/tablethy.html This link also briefly summarizes another theory of the writing of Genesis, called the Documentary Hypothesis, which states that Genesis is not nearly as ancient as it seems, but was actually written by several different authors thousands of years later. Personally, I think the Tablet theory accounts for everything we find in Genesis and that this remarkable book is, indeed, a series of eyewitness accounts which was available to Moses because of his position in the Egyptian Court. There appears to be evidence of editorial comments occasionally through the book, which would also lend support to this idea. Now, let's consider that Genesis is actually true as the rest of the authors of the Bible and Jesus Himself indicated it was (in fact there are over 70 direct references in the New Testament to Genesis, all of which treat it as an historically reliable document). What is it saying? First, that God Himself created everything. For those interested in science, it might be of interest to note that the entire time/space/mass continuum seems to be created out of nothing in the first verse: In the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (mass). That may not be correct, but it is an interesting thought. The word translated 'created' is 'bara.' There is another word in Genesis 1 used to indicate some of what happened that week, and that is 'asaph.' 'Asaph' is translated 'formed' or 'made' and 'bara' as 'created.' When the two verbs are used in juxtaposition like this, bara means something different from asaph. The only different meaning 'bara' can have is 'create something from nothing.' True creation. We see the word used first in the first verse. Everything after that is 'formed' until the great animals of the sky and sea in verse 21. It is only used one more time, and that is in verse 27. If 'bara' does iindeed mean 'something from nothing' in this context, then we have three distinctly different things being created. One interpretation, and the one I personally prefer, is that the first 'bara' in verse 1 refers to physical creation. The second refers to the creation of 'nephesh' which is variously translated as 'breath of life,' or 'soul.' This is something the complex animals have along with man and seems to be expressed through the complex central nervous system (which the simpler life forms don't have). The third 'bara' is reserved for man alone, and may well refer to spirit. Man, being created in the image of God, is a spiritual being. Genesis 1 actually ends at Genesis 2:4a. After this we have a new author. The tablet theory says that Adam wrote from here on to Genesis 5:1. This would explain why a different word for God is used (actually it is a word added to 'elohim' which is the term "God" in Genesis 1). We see that Adam's body is of the dust of the earth, or the same elements physically as everything else. God breathes the breath of life into him, giving him 'nephesh' or soul. But Adam is also a spirit being inside all that, and that is the unique thing about men. A little more science here: we see that water is seeping up through the ground to water everything on the land. Water does not come UP unless it is under pressure. Later when we get to the Flood, you will see that the first event was the fountains of the deep exploding. Something was going on in the earth's interior to put this water under so much pressure! We also see that Eden must have been on a rise of land, for the waters for FOUR rivers began there. Please note that Adam does NOT name anything but the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. He did not name fish, insects, amphibians, etc. Toward the end of chapter 2, we see the creation of woman directly from Adam. An interestng parallel has been made concerning this event with Christ on the cross. Both Adam and Christ "fell asleep". Both has their sides opened up. Both received a bride as a result. It's interesting... Adam's view of Eve was -- or seems to be -- astonished gratification. And chapter two closes with the note that a man and wife shall become one in flesh, or have sex, and then that Adam and Eve were naked and felt no shame. =========== I will NOT be commenting this extensively normally, but I thought it was important this time for as much to be laid out as possible. Comments are MORE than welcomed!