Genesis 1

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • To what “heaven” is this referring? It could be referring to our atmosphere, but if the Earth was “without form,” it wouldn’t be able to hold an atmosphere gravitationally. But of course, “heaven” might also refer to the empty space that fills up the rest of the universe outside of our planet. But if that is the case, then where did God exist before He “created” space itself? For that matter, where does God exist now?Possible Response:

    God exists “outside” of normal space. God exists in the “spiritual realm.” God exists “outside of creation.”

    Until someone defines the meaning of “outside creation” or “spiritual realm,” this kind of response is vacuous and is simply an appeal to emotion (namely grandioseness and awe).

  • The “beginning” of what? What did God do before the beginning? Who created God?Possible Response:

    Cosmological Argument: Everything in the world requires a cause. By induction into the past, there must exist a “first cause” that initiated all future events. This first cause is God.

    Several objections can be made against this argument. Perhaps the strongest is that the universe does not necessarily require a creator. The universe may be “just there, and that’s all,” as spoken by Bertrand Russell, and may have always existed into the infinite past. The Big Bang theory suggests that our “local” portion of spacetime (the observable universe) had a “beginning” of sorts, but this in no way rules out the possibility of events occurring “before” the Big Bang, or other universes existing independently of ours.

    In addition, who is to say that our perception of causality necessarily applies on a universal scale? Causality may very well be a completely subjective phenomenon, and need not apply to the universe itself.

  • Why doesn’t the author provide the most rudimentary explanation of how God creates anything? Simply saying that God created something is essentially meaningless. It’s like asking someone how a microwave oven works, and receiving the answer, “It’s magic.”   The Bible makes no mention of the actual physical processes that take place when God does his creating.
  • Why does God need to create anything? By definition, a maximally perfect being must be eternally “complete.” That is, if God sees that something is missing and needs to create it, then it implies that this god is not perfect to begin with.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

  • If the earth was “without form” and “void,” did it really exist yet? If it has been created, then it must have some kind of form by definition, or even God would not be able to distinguish it from space (which is truly void).
  • The “face of the waters” clearly suggests that the earth had a definite “form,” which contradicts the first sentence of the verse. Did God create these waters, or did they exist all along?
  • The concept of “darkness” cannot be understood without prior knowledge of “light,” which has not been created yet. If God didn’t know what “light’ looks like, then how could he know that it was “darkness” in which he was floating?
  • What is the difference between “God” and “the Spirit of God”?

1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

  • For light to exist, there needs to be a light source. The light source in our solar system is the Sun, but the Sun has not been created yet. From where was this “light” emanating?Possible Response:

    God is all-powerful. Surely he can create light without a light source. It can emanate from empty space, if he so wills it.

    OK, God may be all-powerful, but, overlooking the fallacious appeal to authority in this argument, why would God go out of his way to create things in an order that is completely contrary to common sense?

  • To whom is God speaking? If he is doing all the creating, why does he need to “say” anything? The act of speaking involves using one’s vocal cords to cause vibrations in the surrounding air. What did God speak with? What was the medium in which God was able to speak?

1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

  • This suggests that there was a chance that the light may have been “bad” instead of “good.” But how could a perfect being create anything bad? This could also suggest that God wasn’t sure if light was going to be good or bad. But then would this not question God’s omniscience?
  • Why does he need to “divide” light from darkness? If light was “created,” then doesn’t this automatically define light as separate from darkness?

1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

  • Why does he need to assign them names if he doesn’t have anybody to tell about it?
  • “Morning” and “evening” are defined by the apparent rising and setting of our Sun, respectively. However, the Sun does not exist yet. So what is the definition of “morning” and “evening” in this case?
  • This is the first reference to God as “he.” Why does God need gender? If it absolutely must have gender, why is it male? How can God know about gender before he created animals that have gender and realized it was “good”?

1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

  • Our Space Program has proven beyond any doubt that no “firmament” exists, and that there is no second reservoir of water above the sky. Therefore, either this verse is untrue, or this “firmament” has somehow disappeared a long time ago. And if it disappeared, then why did God create it?
  • The idea of a firmament that holds up a layer of water could presumably be used to explain rain (the firmament opens up and lets rain water through). However, today (in the 21st century) we know that water can evaporate, form into clouds, and then come back down as rain droplets. We can conclude that, either the human author of this verse did not yet have knowledge of evaporation, or God simply did not understand how his own planet worked.

1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

  • Didn’t God already create a “heaven” in Verse 1? What’s the difference between the two?
  • Once again, for this verse to make sense, the firmament would have to exist, but it doesn’t.
  • And again, the Sun does not exist yet to account for “evening” and “morning.”

1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

  • This implies that there is a single continent and a single ocean on the planet, and yet we know that there are multiple continents and multiple bodies of water.

1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

  • Again the author mentions that God saw that his creation was “good.” Was there ever a chance that it could have been “bad”? If not, then why does he need to “check” that it’s good?

1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

  • What does it mean exactly for the earth to “bring forth” grass? What did God do to induce the earth to spontaneously sprout off millions of species of plants simultaneously? Not only that, but “the earth” had to carefully select where to “bring forth” which plants, since certain plants can only grow in certain climates. Speaking of climates, we would surely need the Sun to regulate the climates on our planet. Sadly, the Sun still does not exist at this point.

1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

  • Plants produce their energy through photosynthesis, where the plant converts water, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals into carbohydrates. But this chemical reaction could not take place without one thing: sunlight. Unfortunately for these plants, the Sun does not exist yet. It would be quite impossible for any plant to grow, much less “yield seed,” without any sunlight.
  • And, of course, let’s not forget that some plants are carnivorous, like the Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula). Why would God design a plant for “eating” organisms that don’t exist yet?

1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

  • Once again, the Sun does not exist yet to account for “evening” and “morning.”

1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

  • Well, finally we have some clue as to the meaning of “evening” and “morning.” (the verse even says so itself: “and for days”). So then what was the author thinking when he/she spoke of “days” in earlier verses?
  • Didn’t God already “divide the day from the night” himself? (verse 4)
  • “Signs”? Does God believe in astrology?

1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

  • This verse makes it sound as if the stars were created with the sole purpose of giving light to the earth. In reality, the light that shines on the earth from any star in the sky is about a billionth of a percent of the star’s total output. It seems that all this extra light is going to waste.
  • There are millions of galaxies that are so far away that they can only be seen with the most powerful telescopes. There are also entire galaxies that only emit light in the infrared or even radio regions of the spectrum. Why were all these super-massive objects “created” if they serve no practical purpose as far as the Earth is concerned?

1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

  • The Sun is hardly a “great” star. It is, at best, of average size and brightness. An example of a “great” star would be the Pistol Star, which is 100 times more massive than the Sun, and 10 million times as bright.
  • The moon is by no means a “light.” It is a satellite of the Earth that reflects light from the Sun.
  • The Moon does not “rule” the night. It is visible during the day and night an equal amount of time. It would be more accurate to say that the Sun “rules” the night, because it is actually sunlight that is reflected by the Moon.
  • Didn’t God create the stars in verse 14?

1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

  • Once again, for this verse to make sense, the firmament would have to exist, but it doesn’t.
  • This suggests that stars are really small “dots” that hang somewhere above the ground. We actually know that stars are celestial bodies that are millions of times larger than the Earth, and extremely far away.
  • These verses also suggest that the Sun is somehow different from “the stars” (since it was created separately), when in fact the Sun is just like any other star, except it is very close to us, which is why we are in orbit around it.
  • God apparently also created several extra planets in our solar system that are completely uninhabitable, and thus totally useless. He also created thousands of asteroids of various sizes, many of which may pose a serious threat to our survival in the future.
  • We have also begun to discover numerous planets in orbit around other stars. What possible use could those serve to God’s earthly creation?

1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

  • Didn’t God “divide the light from the darkness” himself? (verse 4)

1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

  • This is unclear: did God “create” the living creatures, or did he just cause “the waters” to “bring forth” the creatures? In other words, did God create the creatures, or did water? By what process did water “bring forth” the creatures? Surely not evolution?
  • We can see very easily that “moving creatures” contain many other chemicals besides water. How can that be, if they were created out of water? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that the earth “brought forth” living creatures?

1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

  • Why does God need to “bless” anything if everything he creates should be perfect by definition?
  • What exactly is the meaning of “blessed”? Is God making something more “perfect” than it already is? Is God “blessing” things so that he would “remember” which things are better than others?

1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

  • When were insects created? I suppose we can consider some insects as things that “creepeth upon the earth.” But what about flying insects? Surely those are not “fowls”? And when did God ever create bacteria and viruses?
  • Let’s also not forget that all animals are actually composed of smaller organisms called cells which, in principle, can survive on their own outside the body. Why is there no mention of this here?

1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

  • Exactly how many is “us,” and what does “us” refer to? Many believe that “us” refers to the Trinity (in fact, some versions of the Bible actually specify “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” next to “us”). Those who support this idea have to make up excuses for why God is sometimes one, and sometimes many, and resort to using embarrassing terms like “Godhead.” So what about religions that don’t acknowledge the Trinity, like Judaism? How do they explain “us”?
  • Apparently, not all the animals realize that “man” has been granted dominion over them. For example, if we drop a person into a swamp with a dozen alligators, the alligators are likely to blatantly refuse the person’s dominion over them.
  • The only way that humans gain dominion over other animals is by constantly outsmarting them. For a good example, visit your local slaughterhouse.

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

  • “In his own image” — meaning what? Does it mean physical attributes, like arms, legs, eyes, genitals, rectum, etc.? If so, then what does God need with all those things? He doesn’t need a rectum because he doesn’t eat; he doesn’t need arms or legs because he is “invisible” and never interacts with our world; he doesn’t need eyes because he already knows everything that will ever happen, and therefore would have no reason to “see” it; and he certainly doesn’t need genitals because he doesn’t reproduce (except that one time, but we’ll get to that later!).
  • If “in his image” really refers to physical attributes, then we might as well say that all animals were created “in his image,” because our anatomy is strikingly similar to other animals, and it’s virtually indistinguishable from mammalian anatomy. More advanced animals like chimpanzees can even produce facial expressions similar to our own.
  • Moreover, let’s not forget that all animal embryos look absolutely identical, no matter what type of animal it is – bird, reptile, amphibian, or mammal, including human. These embryos, even human ones, have evolutionary echoes like gill slits and a long tail. What sense did it make for God to tack these things on to the embryo if they will never be used?
  • But suppose that “in his image” means that our consciousness (or “soul,” if you prefer) is like the consciousness of God. Still, it can be easily argued that every aspect of our consciousness is shaped by our interaction with our environment. First of all, consciousness would not exist without a body. It is only because of the complex organization of our brain cells that consciousness is possible. Secondly, all of our thought patterns are based on our observations of real-world objects and phenomena. Without all of these stimuli, consciousness (if it would exist) would have a completely different shape, a completely different image. How could God’s consciousness be like ours before he even created the world that would later shape our consciousness?
  • Consider this: the “consciousness” of an adult chimpanzee, or even a parrot, is much more sophisticated than that of a human infant. Does that mean that these animals are more “in his image” than human babies?
  • Any way we look at it, it would not be possible for God to “look” anything like us (physically or otherwise), because our body and our consciousness are so intimately linked with the world which we inhabit. How could God have resembled our “image” before he created the environment that made our image possible?
  • Notice that this particular creation story suggests that God created multiple humans (not necessarily two), and allowed them to multiply. No mention of Adam, Eve, or anybody else from other Biblical stories. (Compare this to Chapter 2)

1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

  • Again, if we place a human being into the heart of a jungle, the other animals will probably have a different opinion of who has “dominion” over who.
  • The command “be fruitful and multiply” might work for non-intelligent animals that develop a natural equilibrium with their environment. But it’s a pretty bad idea for humans, which, like parasites, consume all natural resources and still continue to multiply. Today, overpopulation is a very serious problem in many countries, where infants and toddlers die every day by the thousands, despite the Christian Children’s Fund. And we’ve only started thinking about conserving natural resources just a few decades ago.

1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

  • Every herb and every tree? What about things like hemlock, baneberries, oleander, and so many other poisonous plants? Thanks a lot! There are also many poisonous mushrooms, like the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides), although God apparently never took the time to actually create mushrooms.

1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

  • If all the animals were originally herbivorous, then why give the lion such huge teeth? Or the bear such huge claws? Or the snake such deadly venom? Just imagine it: lions, sheep, and tyrannosauri prancing merrily together in an open field, chewing on flowers.
  • What about life forms that are parasites by nature, like tapeworms, mosquitoes, and flesh-eating bacteria? What did they survive on?
  • The only reason that cows can survive on an all-plant diet is because they have a four-chambered stomach that can gradually extract what little nutrients plants contain. Animals like lions and bears would never survive on plants, because their single-chambered stomach is expressly intended for digesting meat. If they only ate plants, they would die very shortly while having long and painful bouts of diarrhea. As an experiment, try eating nothing but lettuce for a month. You’ll be simulating the conditions of “heaven,” but you’ll be in too much pain to realize it.

1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

  • Let’s clarify something: have the humans already multiplied and filled the earth? (Verse 28) If so, then what is the rest of the Bible talking about? As far as we know, this is now a complete creation story, and not a bad one at that. Is there a need to go any further? Six days of “creation,” and the world is complete, and here we are. If only the author(s) would have just left it at that. But, alas, it goes on.

Final Thoughts on Chapter 1

If I lived 3000 years ago, had the same knowledge of how the world works as the greatest minds of the time, and had the desire to write a creation story, this would probably be it. So what is the big deal? Why is this creation story considered sacred in any way? This story simply embodies the sum of human knowledge at the time of its conception, and the conclusions at which the authors arrived based on their knowledge.

Believing that the Earth is the center of the universe (indeed, that the Earth is the universe), or that the sky is enveloped by a solid canopy (from which stars are suspended) is perfectly excusable for an ancient culture thousands of years ago. However, it is absurd to continue to hold such beliefs in our modern age.