Fully Functional

Exodus 20:11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

(Read the whole creation account in Genesis 1-2.)

Did Adam and Eve have navels? Your guess is as good as mine! Such an intriguing question seems rather super-ficial in a serious consideration of the biblical account of origins, given so concisely in Exodus 20:11. However, it does focus our thoughts on a significant question concerning God's creative activity. In what condition did God's products of creation come from His hand? Did they look "brand spanking new" or did they have the appearance of age? Did they have to grow in size and complexity or were they created with maturity? Did they have to develop and "learn" or were they fully functional right from the start?

These kinds of questions could be asked concerning both the living and the non-living things which God created. For example, were the many isotopes of the various radioactive decay series already present in the earth's "basement rocks" which God created, or did all the chains of decay "start from the top?" What about the trees which God planted in the Garden of Eden on the sixth day of the creation week, as well as the trees which He made on the third day? Did they already have rings or did their cross sections show no rings regardless of their diameters? Were all the animals of the various kinds created as new-borns or were they created as mature adults, fully capable of reproduction from the moment that they were created? Or, for ecological and population balance, were some of the animals created as adults but others created in a variety of growth stages including various periods of gestation? These same considerations would apply to the birds and the insects and the fish which God created after their kinds throughout the earth. What about the stars? Were the myriads of stars all created in the main sequence of their life cycle or were some created as red giants and some as supernovas and some as white dwarfs? And did the light from the various "aged" stars begin traveling through space on the fourth day when they were formed or were their light beams also part of their creation? And what about man? Did Adam already have hair on his chest or did he have to wait for it to grow from new skin? How long did it take Adam and Eve to learn to communicate with language? Did they speak in rudimentary "cave-man" mono-syllables, or could they communicate as knowledgeable adults with articulate speech in a well-developed language right from the beginning?

To many Christians, answers to such questions are not important or essential to Christian faith and growth. However, for other believers, thinking through these questions not only strengthens their faith but also results in their being better "prepared to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).

The particular answers Christians give to all these questions (and many more like them) are, in large measure, determined by how they view the six days of the biblical creation week. A straight- forward and natural approach to the interpretation of Exodus 20:11 would indicate that the days of creation were normal 24-hour days. When the days of the creation account in Genesis are taken in this normal way, then the best summary answer to all such questions raised above would be to say that God created a fully functional universe. That is, at the completion of creation week, "the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is within them" had the appearance of age. It was a mature creation that came from the creative hand of God. Just as the Lord Jesus instantaneously changed water into wine which was already "aged," so God created a mature and fully functional universe.

Even Christians who accept the days of Genesis as literal days may find the concept of the "appearance of age" hard to swallow--especially if they are "thinking it through" for the first time. In actuality, however, everyone accepts the appearance of age concept, whether they realize it or not--including unbelievers! A person cannot even conceive of existing matter without the appearance of age. This is true regardless of whether one starts the material universe with swirling masses of primordial gases or with a big bang explosion of a very dense cosmic egg of mass energy or with the interactions of plasma in space or with any other speculative scenario. All must logically admit that not only did the starting material have to come from somewhere, but as soon as that matter was in existence, it already had the appearance of age. There is just no such thing as matter without some appearance of age--including the tiniest subatomic particles. Now if such a concept must be logically acknowledged, no matter at what stage the material universe is conceived to have begun, isn't it logically possible to accept a fully functional universe right from the beginning, as the Bible implies?

Thus, in a fully functional universe, the crustal rocks of the earth and moon (as well as those of other planets and moons) already contained certain amounts of parent and daughter isotopes of radioactive materials from the day of their creation. In a fully functional universe, the trees and plants which God planted in the Garden of Eden on the 6th day as well as those which He brought forth from the earth on the 3rd day were already flowering and bearing fruit. (See Genesis 1:11-13.) Adam and Eve did not have to wait a few months in order to eat! The trees had the appearance of various ages right from the beginning--rings and all.

In a fully functional universe, the stars were all made with various "ages." It is significant to note here parenthetically that the birth of a star has never been observed. New stages of the remnants of dying stars are observed and new additional stars are observed with technological advances in telescopes, but no star births! The implication of Genesis 1:14-19 is that all the stars which were brought into being on the 4th day gave "light on the earth" from the beginning. Adam and Eve did not have to wait a few light years before the stars could be seen to be used for "signs and seasons." The stars were created fully functional--light beams and "red shifts" included. And as 1 Corinthians 15:41 indicates, the stars were not all created the same--each is unique, and differs as to its glory.

In a fully functional universe, the animal kingdom was created ecologically and populationally balanced. Not only were chickens of all ages created but probably some eggs as well! And a "tooth and claw" scenario did not have to take place to bring about a balance of nature. As Genesis 1:21 and 1:25 indicate, "it was good" from the beginning. And finally, in a fully functional universe man was created and placed on this earth as a mature and developed adult. We don't know whether or not Adam and Eve had navels because they were created and not born, but they certainly had the appearance of age as they came from God's creative hand. Scripture indicates that not only did Adam and Eve have adult bodies, but they also had all the programming of the brain required to think and speak as adults. Normally the necessary thought patterns and memory storage are established as a person develops from infant to adult, but not in the case of Adam and Eve. They were fully functional from the day they were created.

The idea of a fully functional universe created in six literal days is staggering to the natural way of thinking. Even for the Christian who by faith accepts the Bible as the revealed and inspired Word of God, it is a concept that is not easily embraced. However, for Christians who desire to maintain a high view of the Bible the alternatives are not any easier to accept. To interpret the days of the creation week as geologic ages instead of 24-hour days does not simplify matters. First of all, as already mentioned, whatever day-age scenario is postulated, the appearance of age concept must be acknowledged. Furthermore, it is difficult to harmonize the various theistic evolution or progressive creation day-age theories with the overwhelming biblical concept of God suddenly bringing the world and all it contains into being at His command. (See Psalm 33:6-9, Psalm 148:1-6, Hebrews 11:3 as well as Exodus 20:11.)

Our Lord's statement in Mark 10:6 does not seem to allow much time for the first five days of the creation week if on the 6th day, "at the beginning of creation God made them male and female." Even the simple scriptural statement of the 930-year life span of Adam in Genesis 5:5 is difficult to interpret if the days of Genesis are anything other than 24 hour periods of time. Was Adam one and a half geologic ages old (part of day 6 and all of day 7) plus 930 years when he died? Some might argue that we can't talk of age for Adam before the Fall. However, although there were no detrimental "aging" effects before the Fall, the pre-Fall statement of "days and years" in Genesis 1:14 indicates the passage of time. Thus Adam was 930 years old from the day of his creation and not the day of the Fall. If the 6th and 7th days of creation week were 24-hour days, why not the first 5 days as well?

And then, of course, there is the explicit statement of Exodus 20:11. How is one to understand the days of this text of Scripture if not as 24-hour days? The context of this verse would certainly indicate normal days. All implications from this Scripture are that Moses, the inspired writer, believed that God brought the whole universe into being in six literal 24-hour days. And that is undoubtedly what Moses intended his readers to understand. Certainly that is the way that the Hebrews of Moses' day would have understood this divine communication. The burden of proof is surely on the back of those who would extend the days of creation to geologic ages.

Interestingly, liberal scholarship is almost unanimously agreed on the point that 24-hour days are intended by the author of the creation account. As liberals, of course, they don't believe that Moses wrote the account, or that it's inspired Scripture--or even that it's true! But as scholars they point out that the first two chapters of Genesis are not written as some kind of poem. (Hebrew poetry has a particular structure to it, and the first two chapters of Genesis are not Hebrew poetry.) These scholars are convinced that the writer (or writers, from their point of view) definitely intended to communicate to the readers that the world was created in a week of 24-hour days.

But what about the 7th day on which God rested? Does the fact that God is still resting from His work of creation prove that at least the 7th day is a geologic age? No, of course not! Just because God is still at rest and is no longer creating the universe does not mean that the 7th day of the creation week was more than 24 hours. After 6 literal days of creative work, God rested on the final day of His creation week. The fact that His rest from creation continues, does not mean that we are still in the 7th day of the creation week!

Another argument that has been raised against the normal interpretation of 24-hour days is the amount of activity that took place on Day 6 of the creation week. Was there enough time for God to create all the land animals and insects, form Adam from the dust of the ground, plant the Garden of Eden, wait for Adam to name all the animals, and then perform the operation on Adam to bring about Eve? Is this not more than one good day's work?! Not for an omnipotent God, for whom 24 minutes is no more of a problem than 24 hours. The supposed bottleneck here, of course, is the amount of time needed for Adam to name all the animals. However, the bottleneck virtually disappears when the biblical text is examined more closely. Genesis 2:19 indicates that God brought the animals and birds to Adam. Adam did not have to spend his time hunting through the woods or building a zoo! Furthermore, Genesis 2:20 indicates that Adam did not have to name all the fish and insects and reptiles, but "the cattle, the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky." Since many of the species were to develop later through genetic variation (not evolution!), most likely Adam only had to name the various "kinds" that God had created. And finally, it must be remembered that Adam in his unfallen state must have had tremendous mental capabilities. Consider the "photographic memories" and the prodigies and the geniuses that can be produced from the human gene pool even now, after many generations of genetic damage! One afternoon would have been plenty of time for Adam to complete his first assignment from God!

In biblical discussions about the days of the creation week, 2 Peter 3:8 is often quoted as proof that the days of Genesis were actually geologic ages. But this much abused Scripture, "A day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day," was never intended to be used as a formula. In context, the teaching of this Scripture is that God's schedule of activities is not bound by time. As verse 9 says, we may think that God is slow in fulfilling a promise, but there is no such thing as "slowness" with God because God controls all of time. So 2 Peter 3:8 is not meant as an equation to be substituted any time the word "day" occurs in the Bible. To use this Scripture as a justification for interpreting the days of the creation account as geologic ages shows a blatant disregard for the context of Peter's statement! (Incidentally, much more time than 6000 years is needed to make the Genesis account of creation "fit" any of the present day scientific theories. So even if 2 Peter 3:8 is used improperly as an equation, the "one thousand years as a day" would have to be expanded to "many millions of years as a day"!)

Some Christians think that if we accept the fully functional concept and its young universe implications we must believe that God has been deceptive. That is, He created a fully functional universe that looks deceptively old, but is actually relatively young. This idea might have been valid if God hadn't plainly told us what He actually did do! The truth of the matter is that if God did not create a fully functional universe in 6 literal 24-hour days, then He has been deceptive in what He has revealed to us about the origin of the universe! How else is the average person, to whom the Bible is written, to understand God's communication? Even though it may be hard for the natural mind to accept, the obvious and normal and "undeceptive" conclusion that we should draw from God's Word is that in 6 literal 24-hour days God created a universe that was fully functional.
Comments are closed.