"When He made firm the skies above...". Proverbs 8:28
Many American Christians assume that Genesis one is more or less a play by play account of a scientific explanation of materials origins or a scientific declaration that God created the world in a literal 7 days. But did you know that Genesis claims that God created the sky as a hard ceiling which holds back water until the proper time (rain)?
Dr. John Walton, Professor of Old Testament Studies at Wheaton College says this:
"Day two (in Genesis) has been problematic at a number of different levels. In antiquity people routinely believed that the sky was solid. As history progressed through the periods of scholasticism, the Renaissance, the Copernican revolution and the Enlightenment, day two became more difficult to handle. For if the Hebrew term is to be taken in its normal contextual sense, it indicates that God made a solid dome to hold up the waters above the earth. The choice of saying the Bible was wrong was deemed unacceptable, but the idea of rendering the word in a way that could tolerate modern scientific thinking could not be considered preferable in that it manipulated the text to say something that it had never said." (Page 56-57 The Lost World of Genesis One). Everyone reads the Bible through a particular lens. But like a pair of glasses, sometimes the lens can be extremely helpful, while other times it only makes things blurrier. When we twist the scriptures to meet with our expectation of what the text is supposed to say, we fail to hear what the Biblical writers intended for us to hear. The Bible really does say that God created a solid dome for a sky in Genesis 1 and in Proverbs 8 quoted above. We also know that the sky is NOT a solid dome. These are facts that we have to deal with. But it is also a fact that Genesis is not trying to tell us about material origins and this is one of the major points of Dr. Walton's book. Genesis is interested in functional origins. That is, Genesis is much more interested in telling us the "why" about creation than it is about giving us a molecular breakdown of each layer of creation. Genesis gives us an account of what the proper roles and functions are of the different segments of creation. This is FAR more relevant to our modern discussions than an account of material origins would be. Particularly when it comes to marriage and sexuality, having an explanation of the proper roles within creation is vital. But this is true of every area of life, not just sexuality. In our defense of the scripture, we must be vigilant to guard our hearts from silencing the scriptures. As ironic as that is, it is not uncommon and we should expect to find ourselves guilty of that from time to time. John Calvin said that the human heart is a factory of idol making. And with this, I am in agreement. Thank God that His mercies are new every morning and that every ounce of truth continues to set us free, day after day. Don't be afraid of the truth. Though it may shake us at first, it will also teach us to stand more faithfully in the future.