And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Thinking it through . . .
Recently I’ve been enjoying watching repeats of the BBC series Human Universe presented by the inimitable Prof Brian Cox. I love his laid back style and the fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, but at some stage of every program I have found myself loudly asking “how can someone so intelligent keep missing the point so profoundly” – and then I hear my husband saying “it’s only a television, it can’t answer you!” True, but it does make me feel better!
The BBC introduced the series by saying “Professor Brian Cox explores our place in the universe. He tackles the question that unites the seven billion people sharing this planet – why are we here?”
In a press interview just after the series was first shown Cox said “In order to understand where we came from, we have to understand events that happened in the first few seconds of the life of the universe. See when the universe began it was unimaginably hot and dense, we literally don’t have the scientific language to describe it. There was no structure, certainly no matter.”
The interviewer writes “At this point I asked myself the question ‘how can it be dense if there was no matter’ – so I assume Cox is talking about light density i.e. the amount of light incident on a given area. Also, how can it be hot if there is no matter – as I understand it, heat requires matter? More importantly, the pivotal question of where did the starting material come from, is not addressed. Nor was the question of ‘outside the universe’ addressed – the current model ducks that question.”
Perhaps the professor did get a glimmer of an inkling when he said “During the shooting I realised that we are rare and therefore valuable and quite remarkable and worth celebrating.”
In the penultimate programme in the series I sat dumbfounded as Cox tried to answer the age old problem of “how can something (everything) come out of nothing?” by saying “well of course even when there was nothing there must have been something to act as a catalyst – something like a sea of energy”. Which of course set me off shouting at the poor television again “well what was there before this “sea of energy” and what caused it?” Et in circulos circumad might be a polite way of putting it!
As another delightful professor, John Lennox, often explains in his lovely Northern Irish accent, science is there to ask a question like “why is the water in that container boiling”. A scientist would explain the proven facts of applied external heat agitating water molecules which causes the water to boil etc, whereas a philosopher would answer “the water is boiling because Aunt Alison wanted a cup of tea and has just put the kettle on”. Both answers to the same question are undisputedly true and neither contradicts the other. So I have to say to Prof Brian Cox that he is never going to answer questions like “why are we here” purely through the means of science. I love most of his explanations about how we got here (though it seems to me that there are currently some awfully big gaps in some of theories propounded) but as to why we are here – it’s really quite simple:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Loving Creator God – we thank you for the beauty of your creation and that, in these times, we are able to see so much of it by travel and through media. Forgive us for taking it for granted and for wilfully spoiling something so wonderful. Thank you that we have been able to learn so much about your universe in recent times and that we can see the world from space in a way that all previous generations only dreamed of. Forgive us when we think we own it all, and forgive our arrogance in claiming to know how it all began and how it all works. Thank you that you will always be above and beyond us and yet are willing to reveal your mysteries to us in due course – help us to revel in the mystery as much as in the factual, and help us to heal our own hearts by giving you due praise through worship and ministry. Amen
(Lesley Wells - IT Consultant - Fort William)
God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapour of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I
God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice
And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times
God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I
Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind
‘So Will I (100 Billion X)’ from “There Is More” recorded live at the Hillsong Worship & Creative Conference in Sydney, Australia.
Words and Music by Joel Houston, Benjamin Hastings & Michael Fatkin © 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI: 7084123
Haydn – The Creation – The Heavens are Telling