Welcome Valley Media                                                                                                                                                                      

Grown-Up Bible Stories

The Beginning

What pictures does the word “space” bring to your mind? Do you think of astronauts? Do you envision space shuttles, satellites, and strange-looking machines sitting on the moon? These are pictures of man’s efforts to explore space, but they are not space.

Maybe you think of space as planets whirling around the sun, of distant stars and even more distant galaxies. You might think in terms of gas clouds and constellations, but again, you would miss the essence of space. Ultimately, space is just that, space—an infinite emptiness reaching out farther than we can imagine. Yes, we see the stars, but they are far apart, separated by distances so great that we measure them not in miles, but in the number of years that it would take to travel between them at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. There is a lot of nothing in space.

Now, eliminate planets, stars, moons, cosmic dust, and matter of any kind. Also eliminate energy. All that is left is space. It is dark. It is empty. It is colder than you’ve ever experienced. If you should happen to find yourself in this environment, you would be dead before you even realized how remote and helpless you were. Yet, this is the picture we get if we look far enough into the past. People debate just how the earth came to be and how the different species of life arose upon it. They debate these things, but the debate must end in a black, terribly cold emptiness with no raw materials with which to build a universe, no time in which to do so, and no energy with which to work.

Science, bluster and theorize as it will, must remain silent in this emptiness. Philosophy cannot accomplish matter from nothing, or mind without matter. Our best efforts must dissolve in the great emptiness that is space. Human ingenuity can come up with no believable way to turn nothing into everything, regardless of how vehemently we claim otherwise. It is the mystery of the ages, and we can’t even have those ages without time or chart that time without heavenly bodies. Philosophically, this prehistoric space must leave us as numb and dead as it would leave us physically if we were to experience it.

And yet, out of the nothing, we hear a voice, the voice of Someone who claims to be big enough to fill the emptiness. It is the voice of One so mysterious that even today we cannot understand Him. We can’t explain how He exists as one all-powerful being yet as three distinct persons. We can’t fathom the idea that He can isolate Himself to a precise location yet fill the great emptiness of unending space. We cannot imagine One Who existed before time. We have difficulty even conceiving of One with no beginning and no end, yet such a Being proves the only possible means of turning space into cosmos. This voice coming to us from total night is beyond our abilities. We know of Him only because He chooses to reveal Himself. We hope to relate to Him only as He chooses to relate to us. Without this mysterious Being, nothing is large enough to change space into universe. And without His cooperation, we must ever remain in the dark.

The only historical record of the origin of the universe purports to have been authored by this mysterious Being Himself. In this record, He introduces Himself as God. He speaks simply: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” What exactly were this initial heaven and earth like? God doesn’t say. They certainly were dark and lifeless. Instead of giving us these details, God focuses on that first bit of matter that would belong to us, the earth. Still, three factors necessary to a universe emerge with that initial statement of creation. Those factors are time, matter, and energy.

What exactly is time? Time isn’t the movements of the earth or the actions of heavenly bodies. Time is separate from the sun and from the rotation of planets, something unseen, yet steadily controlling the whole universe. The historical record is that there was a beginning. From that point on, there must be time, or events could not happen sequentially nor could the universe function. In the beginning, this great, invisible, mysterious God started the invisible clock of the universe. Because Someone made a beginning, there is time.

Then came matter. God created heaven and earth. All at once, the emptiness ceased. Now there was space and matter.  Of course, it wasn’t that simple. With matter came the necessity of energy to hold it together. Without electrical charges newly formed subatomic particles must become a sea of invisible specks. For bigger elements such as planets and stars to influence each other, for matter to relate to matter, there needed to be gravity. The forces that form the environment we know so well had to come from nothing at God‘s call. When we say God created, we’re really giving a simple short hand for some very complex mathematics. God created. It sounds simple, like something ignorant men would believe. God created. Even modern genius cannot reduce that statement to its component math. God created--thousands of years and billions of dollars later, we don’t really know what that means. It’s too big for us.

But with a beginning, the clock had started as it were. God chose to work on a schedule. The next step was a simple pronouncement. “Let there be light.” What exactly is light? Is it a stream of particles? Electromagnetic energy? Where does it come from? God’s record is that He made light without reference to the stars that we identify as light sources. The God that dispelled the darkness of prehistoric space claims to have made—and sustained--light before bothering with sources for that light. There was light, and God chose to make light and darkness alternate, at least on earth. The first light-dark cycle was Day 1

Day 2 dawned when light flashed out again. That light shone on the earth, revealing a shapeless blob of water as it hurtled through space. Only the hand of God can explain why that water was water and not ice. The mighty voice that had started the clock and invented light spoke again. God called for an atmosphere to penetrate the water. The atmosphere—if you’ve read this story in the Bible you may have seen the word firmament—separated waters above from waters below. Scholars debate exactly what this description involves. Even today there are ice crystals—a form of water--at the outer edges of the atmosphere, but they hardly seem enough to fit the Biblical description. Some view clouds as the upper layer of water. Others, and they include credentialed scientists, suggest that God temporarily placed an outer layer of water vapor around the atmosphere. Such a “water vapor canopy” might have shielded earth from dangerous solar radiation, prolonging lives and making the whole world one huge tropical greenhouse. This, however, is a theory. All we know is that God put air between two layers of water, and the earth came one step closer to the place we find so familiar.

The atmosphere itself is a marvel. At this point it didn’t have to do anything except exert pressure on the water. But it held potential for a bigger plan. Oxygen would someday sustain life, but too much oxygen would lead to combustion in the form of fires that could destroy life. The atmosphere held just enough oxygen for God’s long-range plan. It held other gases in trace amounts, but its major component was nitrogen. Nitrogen doesn’t enter into chemical reactions easily, so the main component of air would neither burn nor change significantly. Surrounding a lifeless sea was a compound of which one fifth was extremely volatile and four fifths were extremely stable. Over a lifeless sea, air chemistry would seem a trivial detail, but as part of a plan it proves a critical factor.

As time swept through about twelve hours, God pulled back the light, and night came down for the finish of the second day.

Day 3 lit the sky with divine attention. With the same powerful voice, the mysterious Being called God instructed the waters to part and let dry land appear. He named the dry land earth and the areas of water the earth now divided seas. (Of course, that’s the English version. We don’t know what language God actually spoke.)

Land doesn’t hold up too well in a world of water, and God immediately precluded large-scale erosion. He spoke again, and plants popped up from the land. These plants came faster than the normal growth cycle. They came, suddenly mature, at the call of a voice that meant life. With them came the earth’s defense against the seas. Trees towered high over what had been barren soil. Grasses, vegetables, wild flowers, legumes, fungi, it all suddenly burst into color.

With that apparently simple creative act, a new miracle came into being. It was the miracle of biological life. Many years ago, creepy alchemists tried to create life. Today, scientists grope to synthesize simple proteins similar to those found in living organisms. The quest, now as then, has been to catch up to the Creator of life. And though we begin to understand the mysteries of DNA and the materials that control life, life itself lies beyond our knowledge and power. We can live, but we cannot cause to live. Life is beyond us.

As in earlier creation, the picture was a lot more complicated than mortal eyes, had there been any, could see. The waving leaves of grass, the sturdy trunks of trees, and the soft but firm flesh of mushrooms were formed of billions of subminiscule building blocks that today we call cells. They were plant cells, each walled in by a layer of cellulose. They contained a jelly-like substance students would one day call protoplasm. At their heart was a nucleus, which contained twisted fibers with the genetic material that would allow each cell to reproduce a cell of the same kind. Many of these cells were able to combine carbon and water from the environment with energy from sunlight to form within themselves the food necessary to sustain their own lives. The cells would grow and reproduce. But they would do so according to a pattern, each cell automatically specializing to make the bigger life form that it was part of function properly. Those bigger life forms, the geraniums and pines of this world, would keep regenerating themselves, on and on and on. It was life. It could heal itself. It could reproduce itself. Unless acted upon by a stronger force it would continue indefinitely. That story-like picture of grass popping out of the ground really happened, but that happening was a lot bigger than it sounds. After the set number of hours, God withdrew the light.

Day 4 dawned because God made light shine again. When it closed, it did so because the earth turned away from the sun. Previously, it seems that the whole world experienced light and dark at the same time. From now on, day and night would be relative, depending upon where one stood on the earth. God had finally made sources for the light that was already there. Specifically, he lit off a star we now call the sun to do the honors of giving day to the side of the world facing it. He formed a globular mirror of dust and rock and set it orbiting around the earth on a schedule that would most effectively reflect sunlight into the darkness. The tides rose and fell in relation to the flight of this moon. More distant stars formed pinpricks of light in the night sky. Light now came from identifiable sources.

One of the more challenging questions people of faith must answer when comparing the Biblical account with the findings of science is the distance of the stars from the earth. Biblical history would suggest that the earth is relatively young, maybe 6,000 years old. Yet, the stars are so distant that the light we see must have been produced millions of years ago. The differences seem impossible, but one thing that science can’t account for is the fact that God made light before He made lights. It throws the whole equation from the natural to the miraculous. In other words, the light we see shining across the galaxies filled the universe before parts of it became associated with individual stars.

The earth finished its 24-hour cycle. Day 4 was complete.

During Day 5, God started the project of animal life. While the Bible indicates that such life started with marine animals and birds, it does not suggest that one evolved from the other. The creatures of the air and the sea are specialized. Birds must be extremely lightweight if they are to sustain themselves in flight. At the same time, they must be strong, produce a lot of energy, and have keen senses and abilities to control flight. Hollow bone structures help with lightness. Feathered wings and tails provide for in-flight control. It is interesting how aviation pioneers studied and clumsily imitated bird flight to start us on the road to air travel.

Fish represent a whole different set of challenges. Not only do they have to propel themselves through liquid, but also they have to breathe under water and secure their food from water. The same God that gave birds lungs gave fish gills, but then added an air bladder, filled with gas taken from the water to help with depth control. Why is it that fish have senses that allow them to hear under water and man’s senses fail in that capacity? What gave some birds and some fish the ability to navigate great distances by instinct? The technology of animal life is amazing.

But these things we marvel at rest on things more fundamental. When God began with animals, he designed a new cell structure. The relatively rigid cell walls of plants were replaced with flexible membranes in animals. The ability to synthesize carbon molecules from air and sunlight was left out. Respiration now required complex systems to circulate air and carbon to the cells. (Yes, there are single-celled organisms with less complex systems, but they have complexities all their own.) Even at the tiniest levels, the engineering behind living creatures is so complicated that we still struggle to analyze it. And again, there is that mysterious something--that life-- that can operate and reproduce on its own without immediate direction.

In any event, each location on earth experienced its share of light and darkness, and it was Day 5.

On Day 6, God populated the land portions of the earth. Using cells similar to those He’d already put into birds and fish, He spoke more creatures than are alive today into existence. Everything from the ant to the brontosaurus began to walk on the earth’s surface. Again, the variety was astonishing, yet He used certain patterns, creating as it were families of species. In six days from nothing, He’d not only created the baffling mystery of life, but He’d organized that life into categories of varying complexity. Thousands of years before the computer, He’d tucked brain cells into skulls, wired them with remote sensors throughout body after body, and programmed the living computers to function on their own.

Then, God turned from the animal to the immortal. For reasons that probably had more to do with symbolism than anything else, the One who had spoken worlds into existence, and established the laws of science with a few indirect commands, took time to do one more creature. This time He didn’t speak. He sculptured. Out of the ever-present dust of the earth, He formed what would soon become the familiar figure of a man. He took time to mold one of the least valuable substances on earth into a form with similar features to some of the creatures He’d called into being with only His voice. Then, God breathed what the Bible calls “the breath of life” into this mud mannequin, and the first man awoke, a living soul.

There was something different about man. Yes, his organs worked a lot like those of animals. His cell structures were similar, but this new being was made in the image of God. God is invisible and unlimited by time or place. It would be hard to say that this Adam (from a Hebrew word meaning “human”) looked like God. But God is a Spirit, and this new being had a spirit. Theologians differ over whether man is body and soul, or body, soul, and spirit. Allowing an animal consciousness to count as soul, Adam had that and then something deeper, an unseen existence, a mystery as deep as life itself, which could function in the nonphysical universe. God is a Spirit, and humankind was made in the image of God.

Many of us are familiar with the next step, the creation of a woman to accompany the man. She was made, not from dust, but from material actually taken from the man. Again, the act served to symbolize the relationships. Extra care--God saw humanity as special. Tissue taken from man—men could never accuse their wives of being less than human. The tissue from which the first woman was made came from close to the man’s heart, an indication of the love God intended between those made in His image.

We could marvel at the magnificence, the complexity, the ongoing miracle of the human body. But it is the human spirit that makes mankind special, that something that places each of us in the image of God. It’s what would make the human experience the greatest in creation, and also what would make any failure to live up to the image of God the biggest possible tragedy in the universe.

Scripture records one other event with regard to Creation. Other than God’s blessing on His creatures, it tells us that He rested. Does all powerful God need rest? No. But He did rest from His creative work. And herein was another symbol. He intended mankind to slow down, to rest, and to take time to relate to Him.


So that’s the story of Creation. Skeptics assail it. Scientists try one theory after another to discredit it. Political and legal people try to silence it by force. But the story stands today despite all efforts, not an ancient legend, but the one explanation that really works. It also is the one explanation that will explain the human spirit, that part of us that was made in the image of God. It is this inner reality of the human experience that keeps drawing us back to the question of beginnings. It is this reality that sends us combing the globe for evidence of where we came from. It is this inner something programmed to rise above the physical and relate to the Spiritual Being upon whom we are based that drives us on in our quest for our history.

We’ve drifted far from the days when Adam and God visited. We’ve gone so far that we can hardly believe that it happened. Yet we stand today, made in the image of the Great Cause of it all, and long to be reunited with Him. The story of creation demands a search. This search isn’t for fossils and rare species, rather it is a spiritual search, the journey of a soul out of sync with its driving force. Creation calls us to focus on the Creator--to crawl back across the separation of the ages and once again hear His voice in our inner beings.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

To learn how to find your Creator, click here: How to Have a Relationship with God

This work is in the pubic domain and may be copied and distributed freely.


How to Have a Relationship with God

Home    Bible Studies    Easy English    Essays    Grown-Up Bible Stories   Multimedia    Stories from the Book Itself

About this Site    Copyright Release    Links    Contact: mail@welcomevalley.com