The earth is the planet the Yahweh created, and then formed, for mankind. Beginning as a concept, or "word" in the mind of God, the earth became as a gemstone in the universe. Once it was the right size, with a proper atmosphere (one application of the word "Heaven", its dry part was separated from the water previously covering the entire surface.
As its third rotation began, it was placed in orbit around a star, its "greater light", and given a natural satellite as its companion provided as a "lesser light". Around the sun were placed other lights, appearing as "stars". All these were in place to provide the inhabitants a way to determine days, months and seasons.
The word erets (Heb: אָ֫רֶץ) is from an unused root probably meaning to be firm. As first used in the creation account it is used in relation to "the heavens". The word is then defined on the third day of creation as yabbesheth (Heb: יַבָּ֫שֶׁת), meaning simply dryness, as in shriveled with no moisture. In naming the dry part of the planet "erets" a distinction is made from the watery ball viewed from God's point of view.
Later, when God called Abram while he was in Ur, the special portion of the dry land, or ground, was term "the land" (Heb: הָאָֽרֶץ) is used for the social and political domain. This country would be a sign to God's people that He keeps His promises. By extension, in a future time, this sign would be fulfilled as "the New Earth".
Another word sometimes translated "earth" is adamah (Heb: אֲדָמָה) which is a form of the word "adom" (Heb: אָדַם) meaning "to be red". The first man, (Heb: "adam", with different "vowel points), along with the plants and animals on the dry land, were made from this same "stuff". This redness, it turns out, is an indication of iron oxide, the very molecule that delivers life giving oxygen to the cells of living animals.
Without controversy, the earth was created by God. As such, in some ways it is timeless. However, as part of what modern scholars call "space-time" and composed of "mass-energy", the earth can be said to have an age. That is where its history must begin. The earth described at the very start of "space-time" seems to be separate from that continuum in some way. Whereas it is possible that the concepts of space, time, matter and energy could exist as a single unit (a "singularity") The record seems to support space (stretched out "firmament") and matter (dry stuff.
All this matter, the primal "earth", was full of "potential" energy and gravity. When God moved it, the universe as we know it began to take shape. As a potter with clay, God formed everything that exists from this "stuff". The first manifestation of a substantive "earth" with a form came as a large sphere of water under the watchful eye of the Holy Spirit. At this point, God introduced the two ways with which He communicates with humanity: Sound and Light. The sound of His Voice speaking Light into existence began what would be the first moment of measured time.
Since the voice of God came from his manifest presence in the Spirit, the light of His Presence as later seen in the "burning bush" and the "pillar of cloud" surrounded the huge globe. However, in separating the light from the darkness, a deep shadow was needed. The light became localized above one spot, even as it would in the history of God's people. Logically, this would be by rotation away from that local light. With that first rotation, "Day" would return to every inch of the earth along with "Evening" and "Morning". Step by step, for six rotations of the earth, the planet was first prepared and then populated with millions of species of plants and animals.
Beginning on the third day, the earth was required to do the impossible: bring life out of non-living minerals. But God did all the work, so he formed everything from the materials available. One by one, God formed every kind of living thing with the ability to "multiply and fill" the sea, sky and earth.
The water that had covered the solid, but wet, earth, had pulled back and seeped underground, from which it provided springs and rivers to provide life sustaining hydration to plants all over the globe. Though called "seas", the waters below the heavens was set apart from the dry land, forming an ocean that surrounded the living space for the land animals. However, just as the heavens are plural in application (sky, space, and the dwelling place of God), so the interconnected "seas" can be seen as, at the very least, surrounding the dry land in all directions.
There were seasons even in the tropical paradise that faced the first couple and its animals. The whole world, however, enjoyed a subtropical climate which was familiar to the people to whom Genesis was written. This is confirmed by fossilized tropical plants and animals all over the earth that were laid down at the time of the Great Flood. Assuming the tilt of the earth was a created feature unaltered by the flood, the massive continent may have circled most of the globe. In this orientation the seas would join at the far east and west of the continent but few, if any, among humanity would have noticed.
The Garden of Eden, as reflected in a vision to Ezekiel, may have been on a raised plane or a hill upon the west coast looking towards the east. This can be discerned by noting that the prophetic temple has but three doors, and one of them is closed. The people of God enter by doors on the north (left) and south (right), and once the Prince enters from the east, a river goes out from the throne towards the east. The west facing wall has no door. This probably reflects the newly formed garden rose abruptly from the "Great Sea" in the west. According to some exegeses, based both on symbol and language, Eden was in the region of what became the "Promised Land". If this is the case, Mount Zion may be close to the spot where the eastern gate was.
The major source for water during those days was the four rivers (and their tributaries) as well as a mist, or fountains, that drew from the air and a high water table all over the world. The routes of these rivers add detail to the riches found in the early earth.
Age of the Earth
The measured time since the first day of the earth is a subject of much discussion. Given the exacting requirements for life upon its surface, the days since the introduction of plants requires daylight averaging 43,200 seconds (12 hours, as defined by those seconds) since then. This would mean that the forming of the sun, moon and at least the "wandering stars" (planets) would all be within 24 hours of the plants that needed that regulated light.
Before the fourth day, it is possible that the rotation time could have been longer, especially measured by the stretching out of the heavens on the second day. If the watery earth of day one had begun to collapse under its own gravity, it would have been a matter of time before it would have become a singularity, but it seems that God did not let that happen. The action of separating the light from darkness (first rotation) and the waters above (second rotation), might represent what many measure as "deep time". Even the third day, before plants near at the end of the rotation, could account for measured atomic time in the rocks.
This is not to say these days were not "24 hours" long due to gravitational time dilation, but this is within the realm of possible exegesis of the Creation Week. The use of "evening and morning" in that order for each day does not necessarily demand a typical day as known by man. These periods serve as buffers between daylight and nighttime. Though no work is done during the night, there are evening and morning sacrifices even on the weekly Sabbaths.
The conditions for the animals in both the sea and on the land does not allow for their "developing" from simple forms to more complex ones. The formula for their existence is one of rapid formation with maturity to produce more of the same kind. The final two days, like the fourth, had to be close to the 86,400 seconds that regulates life on the planet to this day. With the creation of mankind, the age of the earth from then became very easy to determine.
The fact that mankind's sin was passed some way to the offspring, points to time outside the garden beginning very soon after its creation. The first marriage was blessed with the purpose of producing children "at the beginning" of creation and measured time. Given this, Adam's age at the birth of his son Seth gives the indication of absolute time since then. The use of 360 days to measure years continued throughout the ancient times, though the present length of the years (revolutions around the sun) seems to have been known to contemporaries of Abraham.
If the "original years" before the catastrophic flood were 360 days in length, and the dates given marking the year of the flood are based on a solar calendar, then there were between 1656 and 1666 years of that length, plus 37 days, before the flood. The Great Flood would then be the mechanism that either slowed the planet in its path around the sun, or its rotation around its axis to make the "year of the flood" equal to those that followed it. The years after the flood can be measured based on the birth of Arphaxad in the "second year after the flood" when Shem was 100 years old. This continues unbroken until Terah, Abraham's father, who is said to have been 70 years old when he began to sire sons. The exact dates after that depend on an interpretation of exactly when Abram was 75 years old.
Since Abraham's life can be correlated somewhat with his contemporaries, and the Passover is exactly 430 years after Jacob entered Egypt, the age of earth between The Great Flood and the present time can be calculated to be within a generation to 4356 years ago. If we agree that the years before the flood were 360 days long, then 1666 years would reduce to 1641 years, 31 days (1 month). Adding these numbers, one comes to around 6000 years since Adam breathed his first breath as a mature man.
The New Earth
See also Judgment Day
In this section, the future of the earth, according to the Bible, will be shown.
- ↑ Gen. 1:1, 26-28 (Link)
- ↑ Deu. 8:3; Mat. 4:4 (Jesus providing ''rhema'', meaning "thing spoken") (Link)
- ↑ Gen: 1:2, 9 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:14 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 2:7 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:1 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:8 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:10 ("land" having been added by translators) (Link)
- ↑ Jer. 18:4 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:2 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:3-5 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:4, 8, 11, 19, 23, 31 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:11, 20-22, 24 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 2:4-7, 9 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:22, 24, 28 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 2: (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:9 (Link)
- ↑ Gen. 1:14; 8:22 (Link)
- ↑ Eze. 40-48 (Link)
- ↑ John 11:9 (Link)