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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, June 06 2024

The world before man

Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." It might seem as if this verse describes the beginning of everything, but the Apostle John, writing under God's inspiration, describes a time before the events described in Genesis 1.

John 1:1-3 tells us: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." These verses reveal that before the creation of the heavens and the earth described in Genesis 1 the divine Word (the One who became Jesus, verse 14) was with God, and God created everything through Him.

Genesis 1:2 then goes on to describe the earth being "without form, and void," but offers no explanation why the earth was in this condition. In the book of Job we learn angels were present at the creation of the earth (Job 38:4, 6-7). A key understanding as to why the earth was "without form and void'' involves what happened to some of the angels. The great angel, Lucifer, rebelled against God: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! ….For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God….I will be like the Most High'" (Isaiah 14:12-14). Jesus Christ told His disciples: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18) when Lucifer, who became Satan (meaning Adversary) at his rebellion, was cast down from heaven—to the earth.

Both the New International Version and the older Scofield Reference Bible suggest the expression "the earth was without form and void" (Genesis 1:2) can be rendered "the earth became without form and void." In other words, something spoiled the original creation described in Genesis 1:1 and made it necessary for God to restore order out of chaos. Comparing these different passages, we can infer that an original creation (Genesis 1:1) preceded the making of a gigantic waste by Satan (the former Lucifer) and a third of the angels (Revelation 12:4), who had become demons. Sometime later God accomplished a full restoration during six 24-hour days, followed by the day of rest that created the seventh-day Sabbath (Exodus 20:11).

The time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is an unspecified period.The Reese Chronological Bible, for instance, begins Genesis with the account of John 1:1, then goes to Psalm 90:2, then goes to Genesis 1:1, and next, to the verses in the Bible describing the angelic rebellion. Only afterwards does it continue to Genesis 1:2, which mentions the devastation left from the angelic uprising. Then, starting in Genesis 1:3, we have the commencement of the week-long renewal of the earth, culminating with the creation of Adam and Eve.

The week described here occurred about 6,000 years ago. If we add up the ages of the biblical patriarchs we get a date of about 6,000 years ago for the creation of Adam and Eve at the end of six days of creation, when God sent forth His Spirit to “renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30). Although the Bible does not tell us how long the angels existed before man was created, or how long it took Lucifer to persuade as many as a third of the angels to rebel with him (Revelation 12:4), it does seem Satan's rebellion happened after the earth had passed through the dinosaur age.

Geologists agree, something dramatic occurred between the age of reptiles and the age of mammals. Famous paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson once remarked: "The most puzzling event in the history of life on the earth is the change from the Mesozoic Age of Reptiles, to the...Age of Mammals. It is as if the curtain were rung down suddenly on a stage where all the leading roles were taken by reptiles, especially dinosaurs, in great numbers and bewildering variety, and rose again immediately to reveal the same setting but an entirely new cast, a cast in which the dinosaurs do not appear at all, other reptiles are supernumeraries and the leading parts are all played by mammals of sorts barely hinted at in the previous acts" (Life Before Man, 1972, p. 42). This apparently reflects the change from the pre-Adamic world to the world of man. Certainly there are smaller reptiles in our world, but they are insignificant in comparison to those that existed in the previous age.

When we review everything the Bible says and the archaeological evidence there is no conflict between biblical revelation and genuine science. The physical evidence indicates the earth was quite old by the time God planted the Garden of Eden and created mankind, and there is strong evidence that sometime between that initial creation and the creation of man approximately 6,000 years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth.