Prefacing note: In this article, the words Elohim and God are used interchangeably. God is the English translation of the Hebrew word Elohim. They are titles, not names.
Genesis Chapter 1 is an account of creation. It is a picture of the work week of Elohim. Each of the creative days begin with the words, “And Elohim said.” Genesis 1:1-2 is a prelude to the work week. It says, “In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.” So this work has already been done “in the beginning.” If scientists think the universe is 14 billion years old, or that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, they might be close. It really does not matter. It’s not an issue. Genesis 1:1 is simply saying, “This stuff was previously made.” Then it says in verse 2, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Elohim moved upon the face of the waters.” (something is about to happen). How long was it dark on Earth? We don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.
Maybe God was working on other galaxies, solar systems or planets in previous weeks, but that doesn’t concern us. He is about to turn his attention to our planet. Now that concerns us!
We must remember that this information was recorded in a way that the Near Eastern people could understand. It was written within their current understanding of the universe. To them, the universe was a circle of land, covered in parts by waters, with a solid dome over the top, which contained the heavens. This dome, or firmament, held up or separated the waters above (that which fell as rain) from the waters below (the seas, lakes, and rivers). They believed that God (or gods) lived above them, in or beyond the firmament. God did not need to teach them astrophysics before he could give them an account of creation. He gave them the most accurate account possible while staying within their cultural and current scientific understanding. Their world and the surrounding firmament was also their universe. They had no idea of the actual vastness of the known universe. The particular work week of Elohim, first spoken of in Genesis 1:3, only deals with the Earth. Not creating the Earth, but preparing and filling it.
Elohim’s work week is about to start! It actually starts with rest, because the first part of a daily cycle (in Near Eastern thinking) is the night (beginning with sundown), and night is a daily time of rest. As night is coming to an end, the morning arrives. The morning is a time to prepare and plan for the day’s work. The plan for day one is light! And Elohim said…
Where To Begin?
It seems natural to begin elaborating on Elohim’s days of creation with day 1, but not so. I think everyone will agree that all of God’s work days are of equal length. That is why I want to start by focusing on the Sabbath day. I want to focus on God’s Sabbath because it’s unlikely that anyone has yet instructed you on what to think about its length. Perhaps you will be more willing to accept a different idea regarding God’s Sabbath than you will on the other days of his week.