"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,"

- Hebrews 11:3 NIV



Where did the earth come from?
2) according to the Bible


"Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance." 23

- Sir Isaac Newton

"The order of creation in the Bible is woefully incorrect and violates even the most simple and obvious rules of natural science."

- Charles Cazeau

9.3 The biblical scenario:

The Bible gives a very specific accounting of events of the earth's beginnings. In contrast to the above quote from Cazeau, the Bible's order of events is perfect as far as today's science can confirm. The perspective Moses offers is different in one important aspect however. The revelation Moses was given reads as though the observer was virtually centered in the malestrom of matter and energy which combined to become our solar system and the earth itself. Keeping that in mind, it is only the perspective which is different from the secular scenario; the events are the same.

One note: to the Bible's credit, it usually intends to communicate on several levels at one time. Specifically, its literal truths are often found accompanied by spiritual truths. Gods introduction of light and order into a dark and chaotic universe, for example, has as much application for us personally as it effectively communicates natural origins.

For this reason, science-focused readers should not expect Moses to discuss nuances of the periodic chart, but neither should spiritual-focused readers dismiss finer details as having no real, material meaning. It could be that the literal as well as the profound are being expressed. (More on natural revelation here.)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

- Genesis 1:1,2 NIV


The first verse of the Bible is the original inflationary theory - a definite beginning to space, time, and matter (these two verses were extensively discussed here). The description of the earth being "formless and empty" is an accurate description of the nebula from which our solar system is believed to have formed if that is indeed how it happened. The nebula would have contained no objects, per se, but particulate matter, and no light as the nebula had not yet formed the sun. The nebula, being multiple cubic light years in volume, would even have blocked out all light, if any, from surrounding space - "darkness over the surface of the deep."

The waters over which the Spirit of God is said to be hovering was previously demonstrated to be either literal water (a primary molecule in nebulae) or its major constituent hydrogen (the dominant atom in all of space).

Meanwhile, the significance of the action by the "Spirit of God" in this passage may allude to the extreme uniqueness of this planet in contrast to all the others, and the careful events which God may have orchestrated to produce it. Arthur Custance is one of many scientists who writes extensively of the narrow margins by which our planet is able to sustain life:

Now, the size of our earth is important because it plays a critical role in establishing the kind of atmosphere we live in, an atmosphere with just the right gases to support a high order of life.

The distance of the earth from the sun determines its mean temperature, and this range of temperature is quite critical. Carbon chains which constitute an essential component of flexible living tissue can only form and survive within the range of temperature that is true for the earth. A little closer to the sun and these chains would be unstable, and a little further away and they would be inflexible.

The rate of revolution of the earth seems to be important for the maintenance in a suitable form of the air we breathe because the alternating periods of light and dark are required by plants as they act to regenerate the atmosphere which we, by the very act of respiration, cause to degenerate.

The proportion of land to water surface seems to be ideally suited to maintain a constant circulation of moist air to irrigate the land.

The tilt of the earth's axis is sufficient to produce seasonal variations which, if they did not exist, would almost certainly allow certain forms of disease-causing bacteria to multiply continuously and bring about the virtual disabling, if not death, of man perhaps of animals also. Epidemics have restraints placed upon their continuance by the changing of the seasons. 10 [line breaks and emphasis mine]

Jonathon Weiner, in the PBS series Planet Earth, references British chemist James Lovelock in further stating

The atmosphere, he says, is too nicely adapted to life's needs to be accidental. With no oxygen, for instance, there would be no respiration. With just a little more oxygen, on the other hand - even 25 percent instead of 21 - the whole living world would burst spontaneously into flames. Earth's air holds just the optimum amount. Similarly, without carbon dioxide, photosynthesis would fail, more carbon dioxide, however, so much heat would be trapped in air and sea by the greenhouse effect that the planet would descend into hell... The atmosphere 'is not merely a biological product, but more probably a biological construction: not living, but like a cat's fur, a bird's feathers, or the paper of a wasp's nest, an extension of a living system designed to maintain a chosen environment.' 11 [emphasis mine]


Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

- Genesis 1:3 NASB

One inevitable result of the contraction of the nebula would be the fusion reaction within its central collection of matter. This describes the origin of the sun. A consequence of solar ignition would be the dispersion of the sun's embryonic cloud of elements. Under this condition, heat repells elements too light or too distant for gravity to draw in. The sun could then be said to have a definite boundary - "And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness" (Genesis 1:4 NASB, emphasis mine).

Some creationists interpret this more figuratively as the introduction of truth or understanding, and put off the creation of the sun, moon, and stars until day four of creation. More on that when we get down here.

And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

- Genesis 1:5 NASB

A second result of a nebula's contraction would be to give rotation to the planets forming within it; all along an equatorial plane. The planets' positions would be maintained by a balance between the invisible forces of gravity and centrifugal force. This would give the earth the visual appearance of "being in empty space and hung on nothing" (Job 26:7).

With the introduction of the sun and planets, the time interval called a "day" is defined for the first time. Without the sun, everything was in perpetual night. The advent of "days" in either of the scientific or biblical models once again raises the question of interpretation. Was Moses using days in a literal or figurative sense? How long did creation take? Is the earth many thousands or several billion years old? (Those questions are deferred to here and here.)


Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so...

- Genesis 1:6-7 NASB

Stated here might be the biblical parallel to the simultaneous formation of the atmosphere (waters above) and the seas (waters below). Secular opinion attributes the origin of the air and the seas as having come from the early degassing of rocks. A detail from Moses in the second chapter of Genesis favorably compares to this belief of that early time:

Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted... But a mist used to rise from the surface of the earth and water the whole surface of the ground,

- Genesis 2:5-6 NASB


Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

- Genesis 1:9-10 NASB

Notice that in the above verse the creation of the air and the ocean, which by all accounts covered the entire surface of the earth, comes at just the time modern science predicts - after the sun ignites, but before the earth's shifting crust creates the continents ("dry land").


Secular science offers the belief that vegetation appeared after the formation of land masses. Moses does not differ.

Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so.

- Genesis 1:11 NASB

Once land masses appeared and vegetation began, a change would likely have taken place. In the early atmosphere laden with CO2, the vegetation would have flourished, but the greenhouse effect would have clouded the young earth in a similar manner by which it clouds Venus today. However, we know that vegetation converts CO2 to oxygen and thereby reduces the greenhouse effect. As a result, this would have eventually cleared the dense cloud cover. If that is so, then only at this point would objects above the clouds be clearly discernable. That satisfactorily explains the next observation:


Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;

- Genesis 1:14 NASB

And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

- Genesis 1:16 NASB

From the perspective of standing on the young earth's surface, or phenomenologically speaking, Genesis 1:14-16 indicates that lights in the sky are distinguishable from one another for the first time.

Now, this is obviously not the creation of light as that was attributed to the first day (Genesis 1:3). Nor does the term "made the two great lights" require an interpretation that the sun, moon, and stars are only now being created (review Scripture's record of how God works.) So if it is only after the sky cleared of some kind of greenhouse effect that all things previously masked from view (the sun, moon, stars) get their first mention, then Moses has quite accurately recorded the phenomena.

Note that some creationists prefer to interpret this as the time of creation for the sun, moon, and stars, but their arguments supporting this must still rely on phenomenological wording within this passage.

Specifically, the "lesser light" is how light from the moon is described. However, we know the moon has no light of its own. It is only reflecting the one light source in the solar system. In truth there is only one light in our solar system - the sun; the so-called light of the moon being merely a phenomena. In other words, it is described that way only because of its appearance (even by modern meteorologists) though the term "moonlight" is technically incorrect.

So if "fourth-day sun" creationists can acknowledge the phenomenological reference of "lesser light" in Genesis 1:16, they are without grounds to object to "first-day sun" creationists' placing the phenomenological emphasis on the word "create" instead. Additionally, knowing how plants use photosynthesis makes it seem more likely that the creation of the sun would have preceded the creation of vegetation which occurred on day three, not follow it.


Where and in what order do living creatures appear on the earth according to secular theory? First in the sea, then on land, and lastly mankind. What's next according to Moses?

And God said, "Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.

- Genesis 1:20 NASB


And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so.

- Genesis 1:24 NASB


Then God said, "Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

- Genesis 1:26 NASB

9.4 Perfect parallel: coincidence or confirmation?

In conclusion, the parallels between the biblical account and modern planet formation theory are striking. The chronology of events, as described by scientific observation and theory, is of the same general description and identical chronology as that found in the Bible. From a scientific perspective, one could argue that the Bible confirms the following order of events:

If today's scientific model of planet formation is even close to correct, its correlation with the Bible suggests that Moses had access to knowledge that is impossible to account for 3,400 years ago. Even fifty years ago, the best scientific minds did not describe our planet's beginnings as accurately as we now know the Bible extols them. The similarities in the two accounts are not even attributable to Judeo-Christian bias as most of the scientific quotes come, purposefully, from outspoken atheists and humanists as well as secular textbooks.

Did the Creator of the universe really share this information with Moses, or are all these parallels just coincidence? If the biblical account of the planet's origin is identical to twentieth century science in all of its essential aspects, then it is not unreasonable to believe that Moses' information came from a source far more knowledgeable than himself.



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NEXT: PART THREE - How old is the earth?

See also:

Have prophecies of the Bible ever come true?

Where did man come from?

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Here is the Bible's presentation of "the beginning". This features the interpretation of the Bible's presentation, plus interpretation of modern scientific data and how they compare.

Whether you're a Christian who doubts my biblical interpretations, or a nonbeliever who doubts there could be parallels, I challenge you to look at the summary on this sheet.

Remembering when this was written, how do you explain it?

1. From H2O
2. Light
3. Atmosphere and seas
4. Continents
5. Vegetation
6. Lights in the sky
7. Life in the ocean
8. Life on land
9. Human life

1. From H2O
2. Light
3. Atmosphere and seas
4. Continents
5. Vegetation
6. Lights in the sky
7. Life in the ocean
8. Life on land
9. Human life