Pet Bible-Thumping Peeves: God Created the World in Seven Days

People like to point to Genesis chapter one as an account of God creating the world in seven days. Actually, that account speaks of a six-day process of creation, not seven. That is not the whole story, however. Genesis chapter two is also a creation narrative. It does not present God creating the world in seven or six days. It speaks as though God created the world in one day.
The issue, however, is not one of mathematics and counting. The issue at hand is that the Bible is not interested in how many days, years, millennia, or aeons God took to create the world. That is a question for the domain of scientific inquiry to investigate. The Bible's questions and concerns are not with addressing when or how God created, nor with when or where. The Bible is concerned with issues of theology. It addresses questions more akin to who and why.
Genesis one is more concerned with how God fashioned order out of chaos. Genesis two is more concerned with God's purposes in creation as related to human responsibility in the stewardship of creation. These are not scientific accounts. They were never intended to be such. They are theological narratives interested in wholly other pursuits.
The Bible does not attempt to explain the processes God used to bring the earth into existence. It simply begins with the narration of chaos transformed into an ordered world that sustains life, or a barren earth God fills with meaningful life. One is not wrong while the other is right. These narratives simply expound upon theological motifs of God's character and purposes, as well as where humanity can be found within those purposes.
Their language is mythological, not scientific. Genesis two can speak of a tree of knowledge, while chapter three introduces a tree of life. A serpent (one of those creatures God had created) speaks to the woman. Her name is “Life,” while the only name given the man is “Mankind” or “Humanity.” It is a narrative about us, not a description of the historically first human beings. Theological language does not need to delve into the language of history and science. It uses the language of theology, of myth, of story in which we may need to suspend some of our disbelief to grapple with its message.

It is not about seven days, six days, or one day. It is about the God who calls life and meaning into being. It is about theological purpose and introducing the God who would later call Abraham, the God who desires to call us, as well.
©Copyright 2017, Christopher B. Harbin 


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