This is going to take some back ground quoting, but from the MP the creation account in Genesis is not to be taken literally by any stretch of the imagination. It's mythology, obvious mythology to a mythicist and even the majority of religionist believers in this day and age don't believe that the world is young and created in six literal days. That old perspective has long since peaked and is now limited to the minority of fundamentalist sects which continue to diminish. So this thing really needs to be put to rest once and for all. One of the factors keeping it alive in the minority in this day and age is that a newer form of apologetics has arisen which seeks to refute the old interpretation of the creation account. The bible clearly states that the sun, moon, and stars were made on the fourth day of creation - four days after the earth had already existed. The sun, moon, and stars enter the narrative very late:
...And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
The traditional interpretation of the creation account is that as contradictory as this seems, the sun, moon, and stars were created after "the heaven and earth" of Genesis 1:1, after the "Darkness on the face of the deep", after "let there be light", after the waters above and below the earth were separated making a sky region between the two waters above and below, and after dry land appeared with plant life. And this is apparent by reading up on the early church fathers talking about the creation week and stressing the point that the sun came after plant life, not before:
On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it. (Ref. 15).
Theophilus, To Autolycus 2.4, Oxford Early Christian Texts, as cited in Louis Lavallee, "The Early Church Defended Creation Science" Impact 160 ICR Acts & Facts (October 1986): ii.
For very wonderful is this corporeal heaven, of which firmament, between water and water, the second day after the creation of light, Thou saidst, Let it be made, and it was made? Which firmament Thou calledst heaven, that is, the heaven of this earth and sea, which Thou madest on the third day, by giving a visible shape to the formless matter which Thou madest before all days. For even already hadst Thou made a heaven before all days, but that was the heaven of this heaven; because in the beginning Thou hadst made heaven and earth. But the earth itself which Thou hadst made was formless matter, because it was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep.
...But evening, during all these three days before the creation of the heavenly bodies, can perhaps be reasonably understood as the end of each work accomplished, morning as an indication of a work to follow.
AUGUSTINE BOOK XII p. 178
But simultaneously with time the world was made, if in the world's creation change and motion were created, as seems evident from the order of the first six or seven days. For in these days the morning and evening are counted, until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!
CHAP. 7 We see, indeed, that our ordinary days have no evening but by the setting, and no morning but by the rising, of the sun; but the first three days of all were passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God, and God, we read, separated it from the darkness, and called the light Day, and the darkness Night; but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was, and yet must unhesitatingly believe it. AUGUSTINE CITY OF GOD BOOK XI p. 208
So in Augustines day it was noted that the the first three "days" of creation took place without the existence of the sun. He pointed out that while it doesn't make sense, we must believe it any ways. Note that he never once tried to make a pass at suggesting that the sun was created any earlier than the fourth day of creation
and simply "ordained" on the fourth day instead of "created" on the fourth day in order to try and make better sense of the contradictory narrative. No, so far these church authorities held to a very strong belief that the sun was created after plant life and Theophilus even calls it a pagan heresy to suggest that the stars came "before" plant life.
Who, then, will be bold enough to suggest that the angels were made after the six days' creation? If any one is so foolish, his folly is disposed of by a scripture of like authority, where God says, "When the stars were made, the angels praised me with a loud voice." The angels therefore existed before the stars; and the stars were made the fourth day. Shall we then say that they were made the third day? Far from it; for we know what was made that day. The earth was separated from the water, and each element took its own distinct form, and the earth produced all that grows on it. On the second day, then? Not even on this; for on it the firmament was made between the waters above and beneath, and was called "Heaven," in which firmament the stars were made on the fourth day... AUGUSTINE CITY OF GOD BOOK XI p. 210
For God sanctified not the first day, when He made the light; nor the second, when He made the firmament; nor the third, when He separated the sea from the land, and the land brought forth grass and timber; nor the fourth, wherein the stars were created; nor the fifth, wherein were created the animals that live in the waters or fly in the air; nor the sixth, when the terrestrial living soul and man himself were created; but He sanctified the seventh day, wherein He rested from all His works. AUGUSTINE TRACTATE CXXII p. 442
It's very clear that the fourth day of creation was understood as the "day" in which the sun, moon, and stars came into existence via God saying "let there be..." which made the sun, moon, and stars and placed them into the already established firmament region of the heaven. This is confirmed by other commentary as well:
Heaven and earth were the first; after them was created light; the day had been distinguished from the night, then had appeared the firmament and the dry element. The water had been gathered into the reservoir assigned to it, the earth displayed its productions, it had caused many kinds of herbs to germinate and it was adorned with all kinds of plants. However, the sun and the moon did not yet exist, in order that those who live in ignorance of God may not consider the sun as the origin and the father of light, or as the maker of all that grows out of the earth. That is why there was a fourth day, and then God said: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven." THE BOOK OF ST. BASIL ON THE SPIRIT HOMILY VI p. 82
And all the visible creation was made in six days:--in the first, the light which He called day; in the second the firmament; in the third, gathering together the waters, He bared the dry land, and brought out the various fruits that are in it; and in the fourth, He made the sun and the moon and all the host of the stars; and on the fifth, He created the race of living things in the sea, and of birds in the air; and on the sixth, He made the quadrupeds on the earth, and at length man. ATHANASIUS FOUR DISCOURSES AGAINST THE ARIANS p. 358
For the earth cannot tell the substance of Him who is its own potter and fashioner. Nor is the earth alone ignorant, but the sun also: for the sun was created on the fourth day, without knowing what had been made in the three days before him; and he who knows not the things made in the three days before him, cannot tell forth the Maker Himself. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM CATECHETICAL LECTURES LECTURE XI p. 67
For if we cannot look full on the sun, which was made on the fourth day, could we behold God its Creator? CYRIL OF JERUSALEM CATECHETICAL LECTURES LECTURE XII p. 75
When, therefore, in the first three days the light was poured forth and reduced at the divine command, both day and night came to pass. But on the fourth day God created the great luminary, that is, the sun, to have rule and authority over the day: for it is by it that day is made: for it is day when the sun is above the earth, and the duration of a day is the course of the sun over the earth from its rising till its setting. And He also created the lesser luminaries, that is, the moon and the stars, to have rule and authority over the night, and to give light by night. JOHN OF DAMASCUS BOOK II CHAPTER VII pp. 22-23
But what is the sun or what is the moon but elements of visible creation and material light: one of which is of greater brightness and the other of lesser light? For as it is now day time and now night time, so the Creator has constituted divers kinds of luminaries, although even before they were made there had been days without the sun and nights without the moon. LEO THE GREAT SERMON XXVII p. 141
I think it's very clear that the bible writers intentionally placed the creation of the sun on the fourth day
and these early Christian authorities understood the meaning of it. The idea was that the sun was not the creator, rather a creation created by the creator. By placing the sun after dry land and plant life, they saw it as an important injunction against sun worshipping over worshipping the mystery behind the suns existence. The idea was to see the creator as the source responsible for the existence of the sun, moon, stars, and earth, not the sun in and of itself. Pretty simple really and right in line with the ancient astrotheological mystery school teachings too. But, as time went on, the bloody obvious contradiction of having the sun coming into existence four days late into the creation narrative became too trouble some. It was stressed as something that must be taken on faith and belief by these early Christian authorities, but later on it became increasingly difficult to hold to that position of just having faith in the order of creation - especially as the scientific revolution came about.
According to Genesis the earth is around before the sun, moon, and stars, hence the old belief that the sun goes around the earth. But when it was finally proven that the earth goes around the sun changes had to be made in apologetics. That was a real slap in the face for the traditional pre-scientific revolution interpretation that I've quoted from the bible and then quoted the early Church authorities discussing as well. And so things began to change more and more in the world of Christian and even some Jewish apologetics. Some have decided to reflect back on the creation account in Genesis and claim that the sun, moon, and stars were not "created" on the fourth day after all, instead they point out that the bible says they were "made" on the fourth day. They have tried to draw a line of distinction between the word for "create", which is "bara", and the word for "make" which is "asah". This newer line of apologetics has sought to claim that the sun, moon, and stars were "created" right away in Genesis 1:1 where God creates "the heaven and the earth". This way the sun, moon, and stars are suggested to really have been "created" before the earth when God created "the heaven" and then "the earth". This comes from trying to suggest that "the heaven" means the whole populated universe - sun, moons, stars, and all right there in Genesis 1:1. These apologists with differing agenda's want to claim that Genesis is accord with science after all by seeking this new way of trying to re-order the traditional creation account.
But of course this causes even more contradictions then the original creation account does by having the sun coming into existence on the fourth day of creation for the purpose of calculating "days" and "years", three "days" into the narrative. That's a big contradiction in and of itself, but even worse yet is to question this new apology and ask where is the sun, moon, and stars in verse 2 when there is nothing but darkness on the face of the deep and the earth is formless and void? What is the light of verse 3 coming before the firmament exists yet? The firmament, in which the sun, moon, and stars are set up into later on during the fourth day of creation, hasn't even been separated into a firmament yet at this point in the narrative. The heaven is nothing but an unseparated water region at this point. There isn't even a firmament for the sun, moon, and stars yet in the narrative. Days are going by before the sun enters the narrative, which, says that the sun is made in order to calculate days, and seasons and even years. The contradictions increase several times over as the apologists try and avoid the initial traditional contradiction of the sun being created four days into the creation account.
Now as bad as it is, some apologists have sought to suggest that the book of Genesis tells of an old, old cosmos similar to what the findings of science through the BBT have provided. They use this method of drawing a distinction between the words for "create" and "make" as the foundation for this apology. The idea is to suggest that long periods of time took place between the creation of the luminaries and the earth and the first day of creation in the narrative - as if the first day doesn't begin until verse 3 or 4 instead of right away in Genesis 1:1 with the intial darkness being the evening and the first light being the first morning of the first day. They say that the earth "became" void as if it was created long before hand and eventually fell into void. This gives them the ability to dishonestly claim that Genesis is in a sort of alignment with empirical knowledge of the antiquity of the earth and universe. But some die hard literalist apologists have struck out against these modernized apologies because they can see that these modern attempts to change the creation narrative around to try and form fit it to modern science are nothing more than a type of heresy - such as described by the early church authorities who very clearly spoke out against claiming anything other than the sun coming into existence on the fourth day of creation, and most certainly not before it. Here's what one literalists has written against those who try and draw a line of distinction between the words for "create" and "make" in the narrative and unfounded it is to try and make that distinction:
... te-or-makeThe question before us is whether God’s “creating activities” and “making activities” in Genesis 1 are categorically different kinds of events or processes
. From these verses above we can note the following:
1.The * after the verses above indicates those entities that God is said to have both “created” and “made.” Bara (create) and asah (make) are used interchangeably in the Bible in reference to the creation of the following: the sun, the moon, the stars, sea creatures, trees, rivers, man, the heavens, and the earth. In several verses they are even used together to describe the same event.
2.The plants were neither “created” nor “made,” according to the words used in Genesis 1:11-13. But clearly (from passages such as Gen. 2:1-3, Ps. 33:6-9, Ps. 148, Heb. 11:3, etc.) they were created and made by God’s Word on the third day, even though God did not use these particular words to describe His actions. There is no basis in science or Scripture for saying that vegetation came into existence by purely natural processes but that everything else was created supernaturally. In fact, the formation of the first plants was clearly supernatural, for they were made as mature plants with fruit already on them.
3.Bara does not always mean to create out of nothing. God created the first male and female humans (Gen. 5:2). But we know from Genesis 2:7 that God formed (יָצַר, yatsar) Adam from the dust of the earth and in Genesis 2:22 we are told that God fashioned (בָּנָה, banah) Eve from the rib of Adam.So, making a strong distinction between bara and asah in Genesis 1–2 is as unjustified as making a distinction between “create” and “make” in English
. It is true that in Scripture only God is the subject of the verb bara; men make (asah) things, but only God creates (bara).1 But God also makes (asah) things.
It's a dead end path in reality. It doesn't accord with science and it doesn't even accord with the bible either. Even Young Earth Creation theory has been adapted to try to use this distinction oriented apology for it's own benefit. The reason is to try and assert that the bible does not start off with a contradiction as of the first "day" of creation, as it obviously does. They have to try and claim that the sun was present as of the first day of creation, making for a literal solar day to be possible and therefore claim that the creation narrative is "literally" true. And the whole timeline of a young earth has to back track to the first day of creation as a literal 24 hour solar day. If not, then there is no reason for suggesting the earth is only six thousand years old to begin with. The bible being used to calculate back to the first day of creation is the only reason for suggesting that the earth is about six thousand years old to begin with. That's what the older generations were doing to come up with their YEC ideas in the first place. And since then people have tried to come up with all sorts of ways of trying to prove the original YEC assertion that comes from trying to back calculate the bible to the beginning of creation.
So YEC is put to rest on several fronts here. First off, there was no method for calculating time before the sun is made to calculate time on the fourth day. Before that there is no calculation method to come up with some fixed age for the earth anyways. So why even bother to try and dispute science coming along and discovering that the universe is very old? It is. And the bible can't even be used to suggest otherwise as it turns out. From the distinction apology, there's even less reason to push against the discoveries of modern science because there's an uncalculable gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:3. In both cases the universe being very old can not be negated by using the bible as a source of negation. Basically, the whole YEC movement is firmly put to rest once and for all when people understand these arguments. And it's obvious that tradition does not hold to any of the modern ideas that place the creation of the sun, moon, and stars 'before' the fourth day of creation as this last YEC hold out is trying to push for. As a matter of fact there is an ongoing tradition in Judaism based specifically on trying to figure at what point on the "fourth day" of creation the sun first rose in the sky:
Jews perform sun ritual for first time in 28 years
Apr 8, 2009
"JERUSALEM (AP) - Devout Jews around the world
on Wednesday observed a ritual performed only once every 28 years, saying their morning prayers under the open sky in a ceremony called the "blessing of the sun."
Tens of thousands of worshippers stood next to the Western Wall in Jerusalem's walled Old City, the holiest site where Jews can pray. Hundreds headed to the ancient desert fortress of Masada, while others prayed on the roof of a Tel Aviv high-rise and congregated on road sides."God created the world in seven days," said Yona Vogel, one of the estimated 50,000 who attended the Western Wall prayers. "On the fourth day he put the sun into orbit and every 28 years it returns to the original place that it stood when God created the world."
The special blessing - called the Birkat Hachamah in Hebrew - was marked in many time zones, starting with members of the small Jewish community in New Zealand. In hundreds of places, from Israel and Italy to New Zealand and Kyrgyzstan, observant Jews rose before dawn for outdoor prayers and dancing.
"We make a special blessing on this day to remember the day that God created the world and put the sun into orbit. It's as though he is creating the world anew," Vogel said.
Modern science may have overtaken the astronomy of the scriptures, but scholars say the blessing still has symbolic value
as acknowledgment of the divine role in the universe."http://apnews.myway.com//article/200904 ... 9DJG0.html
The scene at daybreak was unusual, as is the ritual that prompted it.
Birkat HaChamah, a Jewish blessing service honoring the sun, happens only once every 28 years. It occurs when the sun makes its biannual stop over the equator, the vernal equinox, on the fourth day of the Jewish week -- the same day the Old Testament says God created the sun
There's still a rich and on going 'solar tradition' among the Jews which verifies the order in which the sun came into existence according to the Hebrew bible which they all read and follow very devoutly! It's very clear that the modern Christian apologists like Dr. Ross and others have deviated away from scripture
with it's fourth day creation of the sun, moon, and stars to take a half ass stab at trying to reconcile science and religion. And that's why these modernized apologies are rejected and negated by devout Jews and Christians alike who stuggle to hang on to the traditional interpretations. It's dishonest and people who are intellectually honest will never take up such an obviously errant position on the sun coming into existence before the first day of creation. It's biblically errant.
http://ldolphin.org/waw.htmlUnderstanding the Hebrew of Genesis One:
Star Formation and Genesis 1
by James Stambaugh*The Institute for Creation Research: Impact Article #251, May 1994.
Most astronomers accept the idea that stars form by gravitational collapse of a cloud of gas and dust, and that this process takes a minimum of 210,000 years. (Ref. 1) The consensus is that it was the Big Bang that made all this possible. There are Christians who assert that the Bible can be harmonized with the Big Bang and this process of star formation. (Ref. 2)[b] Dr. Hugh Ross, astronomer and minister, is the most prominent spokesman for this position. [b]He postulates that the sun was formed before the earth and that it is wrong to view Genesis 1:14-19 as an account of the creation of the sun, moon, and stars
. All God needed to do was to clear the cloudy atmosphere so that these celestial objects simply "appeared" or became visible. E.J. Young a Hebrew scholar, takes the opposite view: "That the heavenly bodies are made on the fourth day and that the earth had received light from a source other than the sun is not a naive conception, but is a plain and sober statement of the truth" (Ref. 4)
These interpretations are at odds with each other, so both cannot be true. At least one of them contradicts what God said in Genesis 1:14-19 concerning Day 4
.An Historical Interpretation
It would be useful to gain some insight from an early church father, Theophilus. He differs greatly from the views of Dr. Ross and the modern cosmologists as he says:On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it. (Ref. 15)
It appears that Theophilus clearly understood the significance of this passage and would dispute current theories. We realize that when all the facts are discovered and rightly interpreted, science and Scripture will be in full agreement. Until that time, we must "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5) and make it obedient to Christ. The Bible is to be the standard for all thought! This means that we must not seek to insert foreign ideas into the Biblical text.Conclusion
In the beginning of this article, we drew attention to two vastly different interpretations of Genesis 1:1-19. If current theories of the origin of the universe and star formation are correct, then the Bible is wrong
. God did not say exactly how He created the stars, so we should attempt to build scientific models describing His actions, which utilize the best scientific data and that are consistent with Biblical revelation. The purpose of this article was to examine the Biblical data and determine what the Bible says about the creation of the stars. This article should be thought of as establishing a Biblical foundation upon which a scientific model can be built.References
Theophilus, To Autolycus 2.4, Oxford Early Christian Texts, as cited in Louis Lavallee, "The Early Church Defended Creation Science" Impact 160 ICR Acts & Facts (October 1986): ii.
And this is what YEC boils down to in the end. If science is correct about the order of the existence of the sun with respect to the earth, well then the bible is flat out wrong as a literal guide to the origins of the earth and life. That's how it actually unfolds. And so one must insist that the earth came 'before the sun' in order to insist that the bible is correct and science is wrong about it. The above apologist is left to believe that evidence will come some day that proves the earth 'older than the sun' and therefore the bible is correct over science.
YEC is put to rest! It's done. And science has brought it down. It's just taking a while for the old ways to die off completely. Currently those who have moved towards these newer apologies have become the majority and the YECists have long since peaked and entered the minority status in the world and now America too. And this post is basically to outline the debate for newly arriving mythicists here on the forum and provide some quotes and sources that are useful in refuting both the YEC and the newer evolved OEC apologists as well. The bottom line is that both are wrong and can be dismantled. Both apologies have been built up from sand foundations, so to speak, which easily collapse with a little water thrown at their weak foundations. And the main point here is that there's really no basis for religionists to continue to try and obstruct the abilities of modern science based on biblical reasons for doing so. The bible does not give any literal report of the actual absolute origins of the universe, the earth, or life therein in any concrete way. It's mythology. The truth is that the creation account is merely a mythological pairing of three environments of existence, with the corresponding inhabitants of the three environments of existence and that summarizes the whole thing
:Day 1 = Heaven and Earth (environment)
> Day 4 = Sun, moon, and stars (inhabitants)
.Day 2 = Firmament and Seas (environment)
> Day 5 = Sky creatures and Sea creatures (inhabitants)day 3 = Dry land with plants and seeds (environment)
> Day 6 Land creatures including Humans (inhabitants)
The mythological explanation is of course the simplest explanation
. And this MP oriented argument is something that I want to post here for new readers who may not have had any previous experience with any of these particular arguments and where they lead in the end. This is meant for people to go ahead and read through, understand, and use as they see fit when faced with the usual raging debate about creationism - young and old creation theories - verses science. And the truth is that no one actually has any concrete absolute knowledge of origins and it's good to take that firm of a position on the issue if you are trying to argue from the MP. We have working hypothesis and theories of science on one hand, and a slew of mythologies on the other - one out of a great many of which is the biblical mythology. Of course the scientific theories are the most accurate thing we have to go by in terms of the mystery of origins but they are likewise subject to change and correction due to discovery, so not absolutely concrete in their presents forms in that respect. And the mythologies are metaphorical and allegorical, obviously, which renders nothing in the way of any concrete answer either. Firm ground is understanding that the question of absolute origins is 'a work in progress' with some good leads on the part of science, but subject to change with time and new discovery. And as for the biblical mythology, even Origen pointed out how ridiculous it is to take many of the stories in the bible as literal concrete history. This should be quoted around as it comes up in conversations about "The Historicity of the Bible":
Origen of Alexandria (185-254AD): http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04124.htm
De Principiis (Book IV) 16. Now who is there, pray, possessed of understanding, that will regard the statement as appropriate, that the first day, and the second, and the third, in which also both evening and morning are mentioned, existed without sun, and moon, and stars— the first day even without a sky?
And who is found so ignorant as to suppose that God, as if He had been a husbandman, planted trees in paradise, in Eden towards the east, and a tree of life in it, i.e., a visible and palpable tree of wood, so that anyone eating of it with bodily teeth should obtain life, and, eating again of another tree, should come to the knowledge of good and evil? No one, I think, can doubt that the statement that God walked in the afternoon in paradise, and that Adam lay hid under a tree, is related figuratively in Scripture, that some mystical meaning may be indicated by it. The departure of Cain from the presence of the Lord will manifestly cause a careful reader to inquire what is the presence of God, and how anyone can go out from it.
But not to extend the task which we have before us beyond its due limits, it is very easy for anyone who pleases to gather out of holy Scripture what is recorded indeed as having been done, but what nevertheless cannot be believed as having reasonably and appropriately occurred according to the historical account
. The same style of Scriptural narrative occurs abundantly in the Gospels, as when the devil is said to have placed Jesus on a lofty mountain, that he might show Him from thence all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. How could it literally come to pass, either that Jesus should be led up by the devil into a high mountain, or that the latter should show him all the kingdoms of the world (as if they were lying beneath his bodily eyes, and adjacent to one mountain), i.e., the kingdoms of the Persians, and Scythians, and Indians? Or how could he show in what manner the kings of these kingdoms are glorified by men? And many other instances similar to this will be found in the Gospels by anyone who will read them with attention, and will observe that in those narratives which appear to be literally recorded, there are inserted and interwoven things which cannot be admitted historically, but which may be accepted in a spiritual signification
And if any visiting apologists read through this thread and would like to attempt some type of debate which has not been addressed here already, feel free to jump right in. I don't mind adding another example of apologetic failure to this long and growing list of what happens when you try to bump heads with science by using a mythological / supernatural narrative...