These are my notes for next week's Sunday night Bible study at the Normandy Apartments. We are starting a study of Genesis.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1, NIV).
In the opening chapter of Genesis, God reveals the origin of the universe. It began with him. God is seen as incomprehensibly knowledgeable and powerful. In a series of miracles which will never be completely understood by the most intelligent people on earth, God created the universe, prepared Earth for life, and created life (including humanity).
The first chapter appears in a poetic format. However, poetry is not a synonym for mythology. Truth can be found in poetry. For example, read Job 29. In it, we find a poetic description of Job's life and character before Satan attacked him. Although poetic, the passage describes a real man and his life accurately.
Since Genesis 1 was written as poetry, should we believe that God created everything in 6 literal days? Or should we believe the author never intended for us to believe in a 6-day creation? In Exodus 20:11, we read, "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" (NIV). When God himself gave the 10 commandments, he interpreted the Genesis account as a literal 6-day event. Since he worked 6 days during creation week and rested 1 day, the Israelites were commanded to work 6 literal days and rest 1 literal day, too. A non-literal interpretation of the rule and the reasoning behind it would have been unthinkable. So we accept the Genesis account of the days as accurate.
Does Genesis 1 conflict with current scientific understanding of our origins? In some areas, I'm sure it does. However, scientists continue to discover, study, and modify their theories. They do not possess all knowledge. They are still learning, just as biblical scholars are. We may never understand the miracles of creation completely, but we can accept that they happened.
Finally, what do we do when the scientific community presents evidence that seems to contradict the Bible? Do we consider God a liar for planting contradictory evidence in nature and in the Bible? No. We must not assume God to be a liar when we must admit that we don't have all the evidence or a complete understanding of the evidence we possess.
In the end, we can trust God even when we do not understand how he has performed his miracles.