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1 AM [Chart]
4223 BC [Chart]
Genesis 1, 2
The beginning of the world's history. The biblical narrative describes how the world and everything in it was created in seven days. An outline of the creation week:
Day 1: Creation of light and darkness. This is intriguing, in that it occurred before the creation of the Sun, with which humans would normally associate light and darkness.
Day 2: Creation of sky. The NIV puts it like this - "'Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water'. ... God called the expanse 'sky'." (Genesis 1:6,8). (A number of other translations of the Bible, such as the King James Version, translate the word sky as firmament.) There are questions as to the nature of this water that is "above" the sky. Upon reading the biblical narrative it seems to imply a more substantial body of water than simple cloud formations would provide. Combine this with the later narrative of the Flood, where the biblical account states that rain had never fallen on the earth, and you get the basis for some interesting geological questions.
Day 3: Creation of land and sea, along with the creation of earth-based flora - ie. all living things belonging to the Plant Kingdom. While the biblical account does not spell it out, it is assumed that all members of the plant kingdom were created on this day - including those that reside in the sea. The NIV uses the phrase "Let the land produce vegetation", whereas the KJV uses the phrase "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb ...". The original sense seems to imply the creation of all living things that in general are attached to the ground - including those attached to ground covered by water, eg. corral reefs.
Day 4: Creation of Sun and Moon. The biblical narrative explains that the two "lights" are to "serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years ... [and] to give light on the earth." (Genesis 1:14,15 NIV) Firstly, this is pointing out the fact that the various ways of measuring time come from these two "lights" - the day from the earth's rotation on its axis, the month from the rotation of the Moon around the earth, and the year from the earth's rotation around the Sun. The week comes from Creation itself. Secondly, this is pointing out that it is these two lights that provide light for the earth. Almost as an afterthought, it is pointed out that God also made the stars - this does not say that he created them on this day. This is highly unlikely, as science confirms that most (if not all) stars have existed for much longer than the earth.
Day 5: Creation of sea animals and birds. God blessed them, and told them "be fruitful and multiply". This is the first instance in Creation where God is recorded as having "blessed" anything.
Day 6: Creation of land animals, and the creation of man (the Hebrew word for man is adam - Hebrew grammar is such that the same word is used when referring specifically to a masculine entity, and when referring in general to both masculine and feminine: context must determine which meaning is intended). The land animals were created first, then man. The Bible records God saying "Let us make man in our 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". Along with any physical likeness, being created in the "image of God" apparently involves a position of authority. After creating man ("male and female he created them" - Adam and Eve) God blesses them and gives the command - "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." God then explains what humans are to eat, and what the animals are to eat.
Day 7: "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." (Genesis 2:2,3) It is from this statement that arises the concept of Sabbath. In its verbal form, the Hebrew word for Sabbath (Shabbat) means "to rest". A command to remember this day was later given to Moses and the Israelites as one of the Ten Commandments. The wording of this commandment ties observance of the Sabbath to the Creation week. Interestingly, the Creation narrative goes to the trouble of pointing out that after each of the first six days "there was evening, and there was morning - the ?? day". This clearly illustrates that for his purposes, God arbitrarily places the beginning of the day at sunset. Therefore, in modern terminology, the Sabbath commences at Friday sunset and concludes at Saturday sunset.