November 25, 2014


Disclaimer: It should go without saying that these are by all means fictitious tales. I want to make this absolutely clear: This is not a new revelation from God. I am not dictating the Word of God. Please take everything I say here with great caution and perfect deference to the Bible. This is simply one man’s poor attempt at imagining what it would have been like to be Adam. I have tried to remain faithful to the Bible’s account and to not deviate from it.

Day 4
I had awoken early before sunrise while it was still dark. The Lord was not near. I heard rustling in the grass above my head, and looked. There was a black serpent with two hind legs pushing it towards me, and with its head carefully held above the ground.[1] First its front would move and then its rear and then its front. Its eyes seemed to glow in the moonlight, and I shivered at the sight. Why I should be afraid, I did not know at the time, though it was a rather peculiar creature.

Then, something happened that startled me for the first time in my existence. The serpent spoke to me—or perhaps it spoke to my mind without using words. I could not tell. “You are the mighty Adam?”

I was confused for a moment and looked about for some person who might have spoken, but there was none. “I am Adam. Who are you?”

“I am but a lowly serpent. I’m the watcher of this garden, and the oldest of creatures. Many ages I have roamed this Earth.”

“How is it that you can talk and no others can?”

“I am not alone. There are many of us who can talk when we please. Not all of us are senseless animals.”

“What else can talk?”

“Ask, and you will know which of us can speak. We are slow to speak, for we fear the Master of the garden.”

“Why should you be afraid of the Lord, for He is love and kindness?”[2] 

“To us He has been hard and His love has cruelly departed from us. Ask Him yourself and you will see.”

“Surely, you must have provoked Him and brought just judgment upon yourselves!”

“We did nothing but seek to be free from His continual yoke of servitude.”

“I do not believe you! He is love alone.” While we were still speaking, the Lord was coming through the trees as the sun was rising. The serpent quickly walked away as the Lord came near, and I felt all my apprehension melt away as I was once again bowed down in His warm, marvelous light.

“Rise up, Adam. Were you speaking with the serpent?”

“Yes, my Lord. He spoke badly of You, and it grieved me.”

“What is it that he told you?”

So I recounted what the serpent had said to me, telling Him every word. Then I asked Him what had truly happened to the serpent.

“The serpent speaks much of the truth, but he distorts it to deceive you. He is more cunning than any of the beasts of the field.[3] Beware that you do not take to heart his words. The serpent is controlled by a mighty spirit called Lucifer[4] that once was the anointed cherub[5] among the sons of God in the Third Heaven. He defied Me in his arrogance. He spoke great blasphemies against the Father, and sought to overthrow Him and take His place.[6] Now he roams the world as a deceiver[7] and the prince over the lower heavens.[8] He is forever cursed for his transgressions.”

The Lord explained many things about the sons of God and the rebellion of a third[9] of them. I trusted every word of the Lord God, for I knew Him and I testify that there is no darkness or deception[10] within Him. I wondered at the judgment of God, however, and it perplexed me. I knew it was right and just, but I could not fathom His displeasure or His anger falling upon me. Even so, I praised Him for His holiness and righteous judgment.[11] How perfect is His judgment!

Later that day, the Lord led me to another tall tree in the garden, loaded down with many fruit of various shades. “This is the Tree of Life. Take from it, and eat your fill of its fruit and leaves. It will sustain your life.”[12] 

The fruit I took was a small, dark blue, oval fruit. It nearly melted away in my mouth, like a honeycomb. There was a burning feeling in my mouth and in my throat as I swallowed. It was the best fruit I had tasted, or have ever tasted since.

I asked the Lord by what means this tree would sustain my life. His answer was hard to comprehend. The fruit and leaves contained something that the body needed to better repair itself and to continually heal itself.[13] There were unseen parts within it that the body needed to live forever. Without this tree, if I stopped eating from it, my body would grow old and die. From this, I was reminded once more that God is Life and apart from Him is death. I needed to continually feast upon Him to truly live.[14] 

Before the Lord departed for the evening, He said, “Tomorrow I will create one who is an equal to you to be a helper[15] and a companion to you. She shall be your wife.”

The excitement from this caused me to struggle to sleep that evening. It made me restless from contemplation about what she would be like and if she would like me. As I was occupied with these thoughts, sleep finally came, and a fourth vision of Creation overcame me:

The Earth was green with vegetation and trees. The sky was filled with a thick layer of clouds from one side of heaven to the other, and the sun was not visible, but only a bright glow throughout the expanse of the heavens during the daytime. Then the Lord God spoke and commanded that the sun, moon, and stars should be set in the heavens for signs and seasons and for days and years.[16] He said that they were made to give light to the earth and to divide the night and the day.[17]

At His command, the clouds grew thinner and fewer, and so the light grew brighter and brighter. The smoke of the sky also cleared. The sun could soon be seen in the sky of the heavens, ruling over the day.[18] Then, in my vision, the night was observed, and the moon was also becoming clearly visible, ruling over the night, as the clouds melted away. Lastly, the stars were set in the sky.

The Earth was growing filled with many forests and many kinds of plants. Strange creatures could be seen roaming the ground, of which I could not identify. Many strange creatures grew in the Seas, some were fish and others were not known to me. Each one was skillfully formed by the Lord.

“This is the Fourth Day of Creation.”

[1] Gen 3:14
[2] 1 John 4:8
[3] Gen 3:1
[4] Isaiah 14:12
[5] Ezek 28:14
[6] Isaiah 14:13-14
[7] 1 Peter 5:8
[8] Eph 2:2
[9] Rev 12:4
[10] 1 John 1:5
[11] Rev 16:7
[12] Gen 3:22
[13] Rev 22:2
[14] John 6:57-58
[15] Gen 2:18
[16] Gen 1:14
[17] Gen 1:14-15
[18] Gen 1:16

How Can the Six “Days” of Creation Not be Literal Days?

I like to think I’m an intellectually honest man­. Truthfully, I’ve wrestled plenty with the question of the literalness of the Six Days of Creation in Genesis 1-2. To be frank, apart from scientific investigation of the universe, there is no obvious reason not to take the six days literally—as 24-hour-long days. A cursory, Bible-alone interpretation of Genesis 1 tends more naturally to a literal creation week. Is that honest enough? So, the obvious question to answer is, “How can I—or anyone—feel that a nonliteral, Day-Age interpretation of Genesis 1 is justifiable and does not mangle the meaning of the creation account?” The answer involves the study of scriptural interpretation (i.e. hermeneutics), the nature of God and His revelation, and the place of human reasoning and investigation.

I was taught that Scripture should be taken literally, if at all possible. If a literal interpretation was not “ridiculous” then it was the preferred interpretation. However, I no longer accept this hermeneutical rule without further qualifications. [1.] The genre of a passage should influence the interpretive approach. Prophecy and poetry, for instance, are treated much differently than narrative, with plenty of figures of speech and symbolic language. In the case of poetry, literal interpretation is not as preferred. So, it is important to understand the literary form of the creation account. [2.] The original cultural context of biblical writing needs to be considered when interpreting the Bible in cases of historical literature. Modern, Western, Space Age thinking is far different from the ancient, Eastern, Bronze/Iron Age thinking. I suspect that modern Americans are more bent on literalism than perhaps any previous cultures. For this reason, I believe that the Bible is often less black-and-white than we might initially think. The biblical phrase “whole earth,” for instance, is demonstrably not speaking of the whole sphere of Earth in various places (e.g., Romans 1:8; Daniel 2:35). To get the most natural interpretation of narrative or historical literature, it can be helpful to understand the original audience, culture, and—especially—language of the writer. We should not think that God’s Word has been equally as plain in all languages and ages, for such a thing is not even possible. [3.] A Bible passage must always be interpreted in light of the rest of the Bible. A literal interpretation of a passage may become less justified due to another relevant passage that is shown to be nonliteral. Again, “whole earth” is a perfect example. Several passages use this phrase obviously in a nonliteral sense, making it become clear that anywhere this phrase is used it could be similarly a relative phrase speaking of a large region of the Earth.

I am confident that to the original audience of ancient Hebrews, the length of the days in the creation account was wide open to interpretation. As various scholars have noted, the Hebrew contains subtle, but significant clues all throughout Genesis 1 and 2 that point to longer, non-calendar “days” (e.g., Genesis 2:4 ESV; Genesis 1:11).

Now we come to the nature of God. God is fully honest, but He is also a God who does not reveal everything—certainly not all at once. He retains “secrets” to Himself, as the Bible clearly indicates (e.g., Deut. 29:29; Mt. 13:35; Dan. 8:26; Acts 1:7; Prov. 25:2; Job 11:7). When God speaks of a time before Man existed on Earth, we might be reasonable to assume that God withholds some significant details about what all happened (cf. Ecc. 3:11; 8:16-17). In fact, we might not even have wanted for God to tell us everything. (It would probably take a trilogy to tell us it all.) God’s special revelation to us is primarily about Him: His nature, His Salvation, His glory, His plans, and His relationship to Man. If the creation of the universe and life on Earth was incredibly complex, you would expect God to only give a rough outline of events, I believe.

Lastly, we must understand the place of human reasoning in God’s plans for our understanding of the universe and its history. Young-Earth creationists (YECs) like to say that the Bible is all-sufficient, and so it is when it comes to spiritual matters and our knowledge of God (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17). They like to say that the Bible alone can be trusted to give us knowledge of the formation of the universe, the Earth, and terrestrial life. However, they misunderstand one small thing: God Himself has shown us that the universe is a form of revelation (e.g., Ps. 19; Rom. 1:20-21) and that we should employ our “fallen” reasoning (e.g., Rom. 14:5; Is. 1:18; Acts 18:4; 24:25). It is fully consistent with biblical teaching that we apply our reasoning to discern truth about the universe and its history.

What do we Christians have to fear? We believe that biblical revelation will coincide with nature’s revelation. If the Bible is true then there will be no contradictions. God, I believe, wants us to see and know that His Word is true, and studying Creation gives us some measure of assurance of the validity of it. Our faith must be a reasonable faith that we can intellectually defend. Do we think that God tells us, “Believe My Word even if it contradicts so many things you see in Nature”? We should not think so poorly of God! No, what He tells us is perhaps something closer to: “Believe My Word and see how trustworthy it is in light of the revelation in Nature” (cf. Mark 16:20; Deut. 18:20-22).

YECs mistakenly pit Nature against the Bible in that they believe God’s Word is so much more easily interpreted (contradicted by 2 Peter 3:16 and 1 Cor. 2:14) than the evidence of Nature. However, as noted in previous posts, various ideas of the universe derived from a hyper-literal interpretation of the Bible—stemming from overconfidence that the most literal, straightforward reading of the Bible is the best interpretation—have been overwhelmingly overturned by evidence from Nature, such as geocentricity (cf. Josh. 10:12-13; 1 Chr. 16:30; Ps 19:6; Ecc. 1:5), the idea that the moon is a light source (cf. Is. 13:10; 60:19; Gen. 1:16), or that male sperm is fully human (i.e., needing no other components to develop into mature humans; cf. Heb. 7:5,10). Regardless of who held these positions, they are ideas that would seem to be the “plain reading” of Bible passages related to the natural world. When it is convenient, YECs do concede that overly literal readings of the Bible can be incorrect, though not known to be incorrect until science elucidates the matter.

What they are unwilling to admit is that God would ever use any poetic flare—or otherwise less than absolute literal language—when telling us about how He created our world. Why would God seem to speak of a literal six-day long process of creation, if it were billions of years and we weren’t there to see it happen? Doesn’t He know that we’d be confused by His Word? Doesn’t He want us to trust His Word more than our research of His creation? To these questions I answer that God expects us to search out His creation and His Word and discern His works of ancient times (e.g., Ps. 111:2). He expects us to believe His Word, but not to be presumptuous that a hard, wooden, literal interpretation is the best interpretation. He expects us to be humble enough to reconsider our understanding of the Bible when mountains of evidence in creation point to a better interpretation of His Word. This is not abandoning the Bible; it’s reevaluating our presuppositions about how God speaks to us concerning His creation. If strong evidence in the universe points to an old universe and earth, we should not question which is correct: the “plain reading” of the Bible or the plain interpretation of evidence in Nature. No, we consider if God’s Word amply allows for a less-wooden interpretation of long ages in Genesis 1.

In this way we honor God’s Word and the revelation coming to us directly from His creation. We must wisely discern when to abandon a fully literal interpretation of the Bible when the evidence of Nature consistently points to a less literal interpretation. If we are unwilling to receive the overwhelming witness of Creation about its age, because we think we’re honoring God’s Book by trusting the simplest possible meaning, then there could be a hint of pride or self-righteousness in that position that mistakes the purposes of God and His desire for us to grow and learn by employing sound reasoning. We do not honor God by portraying a blatant discrepancy between His natural revelation (Creation) and His special revelation (the Bible).

For these reasons, I no longer feel disturbed that the most literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2 may not be the correct interpretation. Certainly, God has not deceived us! He has simply withheld fascinating secrets that only in modern times are being revealed by careful study of His Word and Creation—study that He Himself wanted and encouraged in His Word. For perhaps hundreds of years, the absolute literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2 was accepted as orthodoxy, but from that there was no detriment to our understanding of God and our human nature. The lack of understanding was regarding the universe and the universe alone. An old universe changes nothing about our understanding of who God is or what His relationship is to us. And, for these reasons, I am not troubled that the Creator would speak of what sounds to modern ears like a young universe, or that He would not tell us the processes whereby He created life on earth.