1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 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. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
The Hebrew Bible begins with a declaration that God is the Creator and that He created the Earth "in the beginning."
But just WHEN was this "beginning?"
This question is easily answered by what it was that God created;
"the heaven and the earth."
The surrounding context~Genesis 1:1-31 & Genesis 2:1-4, makes it clear that this"beginning" is none other than the beginning of the 7 Days of Creation Week! and NOT the beginning of "all eternity" or the beginning of "the entire universe."
It is important to understand and keep in mind when we are reading the creation account of Genesis; that God is introducing Himself to mankind, whom He created upon the Earth.
God is NOT introducing Himself to the "universe." Therefore, Genesis 1:1 is NOT a reference to "the beginning" of the creation of the "cosmos" or the "universe." This idea is in conflict with the divine purpose of the writing of the Creation account of Genesis.
Genesis is dealing with the relationship of God with man. This key concept must be kept in mind as we read through Genesis 1, if we are to come to the right conclusion as to WHEN "In the beginning" was, or WHEN it begins.
*** Here are 2 Critical Points for understanding Genesis 1;
1.) Genesis 1 is written quite some time AFTER God had finished the creation of the heavens and the earth (approx. 4004 B.C.), for the First Book of Moses "GENESIS" was written (1440 B.C.) by Moses, who was not born till the time of the Egyptians came into existence. The date of the writing of Genesis is some 2500 years AFTER the events of the six days of Creation had taken place. So, we must kept this perspective in tact; that Genesis was written from the perspective of looking back to Creation, or recounting of the creative acts of God. Since Moses was not there to give an eye-witness account of what God created, the LORD God guides the mind of Moses in writing out the Creation events, just as GOD desired them to be written. The written record is INSPIRED by God as He moved upon men to write the Holy Scripture. We CAN TRUST what we read as the authentic and accurate account of exactly what God did during those six days of Creation Week, and that the 7th Day Sabbath is a memorial of that very FIRST WEEK of TIME that BEGAN the existence of the Earth and its inhabitants.
2.) Genesis 1 is written from the perspective of MAN standing upon the Earth looking up into the heavens. From this perspective MAN sees all the things around him upon the earth and in the sky. But when he looks up into the heavens, the first thing that catches his eye is the very large and bright light of the SUN, then at night he sees the next largest and brightest object, the MOON. While captivated with this "great light" that rules the night, he sees multitudes of other tiny lights. So while MAN is fascinated with all that he sees, in the mind of MAN arises the questions of "Where did all this come from? How did it all begin? And God is ready to answer his questions.
It is in this setting that MAN is introduced to the Creator, while he is beholding all of these created works of God. God speaks to man and BEGINS to explain to him the ORIGINS of all these things, the Earth upon which man lives, the sky where the birds fly and the clouds sail, and the two "great lights" in the heavens. God takes the prophet back to the beginning and explains to man where he came from an how the Earth came into existence.
IN THE BEGINNING . . .
This is clearly referring only to the BEGINNING when God FIRST created "the heaven and the earth" and Exodus 20:11 says that God created "the heavens and the earth" in six days. So, the BEGINNING of Genesis 1:1 is obviously the BEGINNING of those six days of Creation Week.
On the FIRST DAY of Creation Week, (now our Sunday), during the very first week of TIME for
the Earth when the Earth had first been brought into existence, GOD created the Earth in
a condition of being "empty and desolate" of all life forms. The Earth, when it was first created
was covered entirely with sea water, it was one vast ocean. GOD placed the Earth in a
specific location in the already existing universe, that place or "space" in the universe was called "heaven."
So, that "In the beginning" when GOD created "the heaven and the earth" He created
an "expanse"-the "heaven" and then created the "Earth" and placed the Earth in that newly created space in His universe. GOD created "the heaven and the earth" at the same time, on the same day~the first day of Creation Week, when He spoke them both into existence "in the beginning."
Thus, on Day 1 of Creation Week, GOD literally created "the heaven and the earth" and He did this during the first 12 hours of the first day of time, that is in the "evening" of the first day.
The Bible declares that the Earth was created in "DARKNESS" (Genesis 1:1-2), When it was first created God had created it in a condition of being "empty and void" of all life. The EARTH was a mass of rock and raw inanimate matter, covered entirely with a layer of sea water. The Spirit of God was hovering upon the surface of "the deep. . ." AND then 12 hours later GOD said "Let there be light!" And the morning of the first day of TIME came into existence. The first "dawn of creation" revealed the freshly created Earth as the sun rose into its morning glory and lightened the surface of the Earth.
"AND the evening and the morning were the first day."
The FIRST DAY of the existence of the Earth began "in the beginning" when GOD first created the Earth.
On DAY 1 God created "the heaven and the earth," which includes the creation of the Sun and moon, and the other 8 planets in our solar system.
The fact that there was a "morning" on the 1st Day requires that there was a SUN by which the EVENING and the MORNING are measured off. They exist by virtue of the existence of the SUN as well as the EARTH being set in a continuous 24 hours rotation. If the Earth was not set in rotation on Day 1 there could be no "evening" and "morning," and thus no existence of a DAY.
The very first evening and morning mark off the division of TIME that constitutes one full day. This serves as a form or pattern for all the succeeding six days of Creation Week. This was done by the dividing of light from the darkness, each consisting of 12 hours by causing the Earth to begin her 24 hour rotation cycle for each day. At the end of the 6 literal 24 hour days of Creation God created another day~the 7th Day, as a memorial to the creation of the heaven and the earth "in the beginning" and His doing so in just six literal 24 hour days;
8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
The Biblical testimony is that "In the beginning" of the FIRST WEEK of TIME that the Earth
was ever in existence, was the exact same time that the 7 Day Week was brought into
existence. GOD spoke TIME into existence when He first spoke the
Earth into existence, all just in 6 literal 24 hour days;
1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
10 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.
14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
Thus, the entire planet Earth, rock core and all, was created during the six days of Creation Week. There was NO planet Earth to be found before the six days of Creation. The Biblical Truth is that Earth was brought into existence at the very same time that TIME~the 7 Day Week was brought into existence. The FIRST WEEK of TIME was created by GOD causing the Earth to come into existence on Day 1 of Creation Week and then spinning the Earth and setting it rotating at some 1040 mph, which it still maintains!
"In the beginning" of Genesis 1:1 is literally "in the beginning of Creation Week" on the FIRST DAY of Earth TIME, "Sunday" the FIRST DAY the WEEK. The Earth and the 7 Day Week literally BEGAN TOGETHER at the same time "In the beginning." They were Co-Created.
The Earth's age is as old as is that of the 7 Day Week. When the Earth was first created so was the 7 Day Week. When the 1 Day of Creation Week began, that is when the Earth came into existence.
The heaven and the earth, along with the 7 Day Week were all Co-Created at the SAME TIME.
The evidence for this Biblical Doctrine of Creation is presented in the following Biblical
Investigation and Exposition of Genesis 1:1 - Genesis 2:4-1.
Pastor Richard P. Mendoza B.A. Religion and Biblical Languages 1990 Biblical Studies
Institute, M. Div. 1993 Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University