Imagine that you are a scientist with the task of explaining the concepts of Space, Matter, Energy, and Time to primitive people of the earth from several thousand years ago. They have no written language, and no words for these concepts in their spoken language. What, from their environment, would you use to communicate these concepts to them? Go ahead. Answer the question in your own mind, then keep reading…
These seem to be the most reasonable metaphors for their context and understanding:
Space: the sky, the night sky especially. We’ll call it “the heavens”
Matter: dirt or earth, water. We’ll call it “earth” or “water”.
Energy: the warming light of the sun. We’ll use “light”.
Time: The track of the celestial bodies across the sky/motion.
These things, of course, exist in their own right, so when you are referring to the actual things themselves, such as the heavens, the earth, light, and time, and not the metaphors, you would have to define them as themselves when the actual things come into your narrative, and thereafter, depart from the metaphorical use of them. For example, if I tell you that I’ll be using the word “heavens” to mean “space”, I would then be compelled to tell you when I depart from the metaphor and again begin using “heavens” only to mean “heavens”.
So, with that being said, let’s look at Genesis 1, the first book of the Bible. We’ll use the standard convention of Verses in the Bible (e.g. V1) as references.
V1. In the beginning God created the heavens [space] and the earth [matter].
This makes sense scientifically, because matter cannot exist without the space that it occupies, therefore space would come before matter.
V2. The earth [matter] was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters [matter].
The Hebrew word for “the deep” is תְּהוֹם “tehom” or תְּהֹם “tehom”, which also means “abyss”. It can also mean “sea”, but “sea” is not defined as such until verse 10, later in the story, when it says: God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas. So, we will continue with “earth” and “water” as metaphors for matter until we get there. So, as matter is, of course, not just a solid, but also liquid, gas, etc, “the deep”, or “abyss” could indicate some kind of primordial soup. This makes a lot of sense when we see that the matter was “formless (Hebrew: תֹּהוּ “tohu” – chaos, confusion, meaningless) and void (Hebrew: בֹּהוּ “bohu” – emptiness)”. Therefore, it appears as though “the earth”, “the deep”, and “the waters” in this verse are all referring to the same thing. They are all being used metaphorically in an attempt to describe this primordial soup.
V3. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
In verse 14 it says: Then God said, “Let there be lights…” This is when the celestial bodies that give us light are defined, therefore, until we get there, we will consider the light in verse 3 to be our metaphor for energy because in verse 3 above, as no source of light is defined, and according to the laws of the Universe that God is creating, light emanates from a source, it doesn’t make any sense unless it is being used as a metaphor for something else. I’ve heard people say that the light came from God Himself, but as God is everywhere, there would be no way for Him to separate light from darkness, as that would directly contradict the scripturally validated claim to God’s omnipresence. So, now we have Space, Matter, and Energy, and we are still within the bounds of the Physical Laws of the burgeoning Universe.
V4. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
Energy, by its very nature, possesses a positive or negative force. This could speak to this delineation but it could also speak to the “formless and void” statement in verse 2: formless (Hebrew: תֹּהוּ “tohu” – chaos, confusion, meaningless) and void (Hebrew: בֹּהוּ “bohu” – emptiness)”. This light could mean more or different than simply “energy”. This could represent the introduction of the dichotomy of meaning and chaos. It could well represent the “laws” within which the universe will function.
V5. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
The 24 hour day is not defined, or even definable until verse 14: Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night…” There can be no measurement of time without motion. Evening and morning indicate the advent of Motion although there is as yet no way to measure it until verse 14. Evening and morning are also indicators of time that the people of that age would be familiar with, and so it is used here as a metaphor, for their sake. Furthermore, while word used here for day (Hebrew: יוֹם, yom) is commonly used to refer to a 24 hr period of time, it is also used in other places to mean “age” or “epoch”. Daniel 12:13 But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age. The use of the words And there was evening and there was morning, one day, is also unique to this part of the scriptures and as it is first used here, could hint at an alternative meaning to its most common use as a 24 hr day, which the Hebrews define as from evening to evening, not evening to morning. Notice that from evening to morning is from dark to light, from chaos to order. It could also mean the end of an epoch and the beginning of a new one which is most likely why in Gen 2:1-3 where it talks about the 7th and final day, when God rests, it does not say “and there was evening and there was morning a 7th day.” It is likely that we are still in the “7th day”. This passage in Hebrews 4:3-7 could well point to this:
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
“AS I swore in MY wrath,
They shall not enter MY rest,”
although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter MY rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
“Today if you hear His voice,
DO not harden your hearts.”
The “rest” mentioned throughout these verses, and all throughout the book of Hebrews, in fact, could well be the same rest as the 7th day rest. It certainly seems so here: 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter MY rest.” Therefore, it would appear that “Today” in Hebrews 4:7 is the 7th day. We are still in the 7th day, or 7th epoch.
V6. Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
BANG! In the book Industrial Explosion Prevention and Protection, Frank T. Bodurtha defines an explosion as such: “an explosion is the result, not the cause, of a rapid expansion of gases. It may occur from physical or mechanical change.” Basically, God blows the primordial soup apart with an explosion.
V7. 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.
The words “below” and “above” are actually the same Hebrew word: מִן “min” or מִנִּי “minni” or מִנֵּי־ “mine”. This basically means that the matter was separated apart, one from the other, within the expanse of space, or expanse of the heavens as outer space is defined in the next verse and in verse 15: for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth…
V8. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Not until verse 8 is the word “heaven” ascribed to its actual meaning of the sky and outer space, but hereafter it carries that meaning because it has been defined as such. It is no longer used as a metaphor for Space. The second and ensuing days denote the continuation of consistent motion according to the same Physical Laws that governed the first day.
V9. Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
After the explosion, the universe begins to form from the elemental level and below. Gravity begins to gather matter into what are now the celestial bodies. Order is introduced to what was chaos: “formless and void” v2. Specifically, on earth, this is happening, but it is also happening generally throughout the Universe.
V10. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Again, earth and water are here defined and depart forever from their metaphorical meanings. While this is going on throughout the universe on other planets and celestial bodies, this is the definitive transition from speaking of the Universe to now speaking of the planet Earth. Why? Because this record is for the people of earth.
V11. 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.
V12. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
V13. There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
V14. 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;
V15. and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
V16. 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.
V17. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
V18. and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
V19. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
This passage denotes and defines actual sources of actual light, thereby permanently departing from the metaphor of Energy hereafter. It also denotes the first measurement of Time according to the continuation of consistent motion as governed by the Physical Laws of the Universe.
And there you have it. There is a Big Bang in the Bible, boys and girls.