In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
I. As regards the time of creation we are told nothing. There is no note of date or time until after the creation of Adam. Six successive periods of creation are spoken of, with no indication as to the length of each.
II. There is no contradiction, I think, between any result as to the world's age at which science may arrive, and the record with which the Book of Genesis opens. Are there not clear indications that the creation of the world was not the result of the omnipotent act of a moment, but of the Divine creative energy working (as we ever still see it working) through gradual processes, through successive gradations?
III. As long as science keeps to her own great sphere of discovering and codifying facts, we have only to thank her for her labours. I need scarcely say, however, that a certain school of scientific men are not content with this. They leave the boundaries of science, and enter the domain of theology. They say, because we find these successive stages of progress in creation — this development of one period from another — we will regard matter as having in itself all power and potency of life. They will not mention God at all, or if they do it is merely as another name for law. In the law which they discover from its operations — in the potency which they find in matter itself, they see sufficient to account for all creation; and we can dispense with that myth which we call "God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." It is here they impugn Genesis. It was not "God" who created these things; they were evolved from eternal matter, in accordance with irresistible law. The Bible is primarily a religious book. This chapter is not meant to tell us all the varied processes through which God carried on His great creative work. The lesson Moses had to tell the people he ruled when he brought them out of a land where material force was everything; where men worshipped the physical universe — the fruits of the field, and the moon and stars of heaven — was, that there was a God beyond all these; that these were only the works of His creative power. Without Him they could not be. It was not a scientific view of the material universe, but a religious view, that Moses wished to give these people. He sought to impress on them that, though these things passed through various add successive stages, God was there. God did it.
(T. T. Shore, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.