Prologue: A Planet Transformed!
From a Dark, Desolate Rock
to a Verdant, Vibrant World
God Did it! In 168 Hours!
In my 80-plus years, I have traveled the world many times –from East to West, North and South, criss-crossing five continents. (I’ve missed out on Australia and Antarctica!) I find our world a fascinating place!
Today, I sit high in our 21st floor apartment near Vancouver looking out over three stupendous mountain ranges, some near, some far. The scenery is stunning--and constantly changing. This morning the sun shone brilliantly on some snow-tipped mountain ridges on the horizon. Right now, the clouds have rolled in, all but obscuring the snowcapped peaks peeking from behind the near-at-hand mountains.
It’s a Wonderful, Wonderful World!
The intriguing question: How did it get here? What happened to give it its present shape? And how come the news today reports that the Mars landing, after a five-year probe, found nothing but rocks and extremes, sometime hot and sometimes cold? Do we have the only place with trees and rivers and living things?
Just how did it all come to be? I turn to my-well-plugged-in computer screen, and the answer comes back: four billion years ago, there was a Big Bang in the universe. As the fragments scattered, they somehow came together to become what they are today. No one was needed to plan it all. Everything came about in a long sequence of random happenings, marked by fortuitous accidents.
Many of our most brilliant scientists insist this is how it all came about!
And on Planet Earth, a kind of primeval “soup” developed. One day, lightning struck! And the random forces at work resulted in one living amoeba. It multiplied. And multiplied again.
Eventually, it resulted in a simple form of living matter, then into more complex living forms. And the result? That simple amoeba grew into what we see today, all of this beautiful world of ours,
including the trees and the animals. Again, no planning of any kind!
Oh yes, as life became more complex, there developed a series of accidents in the growth process. These accidents, or mutations in the genetic development, grew into permanent changes. Each aspect of each living thing “learned to adapt” to its surroundings, and grew naturally to overcome the barriers which stood in its way. And that is how each plant and tree, each animal and bird, developed into what it is today! Again, no planning, no control. All random happenings!
At this point, I must make a confession. I have tried honestly, and tried diligently, to wrap my mind around that answer. But I admit, even though it has become the conventional wisdom of our day, I cannot do it. That answer given simply does not match the clear and obvious facts!
So I press on in my quest for a satisfying answer.
Seen from another angle, the world around us poses fascinating questions.
How can that clump of majestic pine trees outside my window keep green year after year, reaching down to their roots for moisture and nutrients and carrying them up to their top-most branches--while everything else flows down? And by what mysterious process does the tree take those nutrients, expose them to the sunlight, mix them with a common element in the air (CO2 ) and make them into a living branch? After all, the moisture, the rays of the sun and the CO2 are each from a totally different dimension! It’s not as though I were taking three spoonfuls of sugar and adding them to the chef’s cake batter. It’s more like taking a spoonful of sugar, adding a cup of plain air, mixing it, and trying to heat it over the kitchen stove! It just doesn’t work!
Yet this flow of the tree’s sap upward pictures precisely what goes on in every tree, every blade of grass--every day! This comes about without anyone’s planning or forethought? Without the intelligent direction of a Wise Creator?
The process of photo synthesis is well known in the world of science, a complex process taking three elements -- water (with its nutrients from below the soil), carbon dioxide (CO2 from the air), plus the rays of the sun (for energy) and by a wonderful and amazing process producing chlorophyll, the molecule which forms the basis for the life of the tree. The same process is seen in every form of plant life and produces oxygen as a “waste” product which is then made use of by plants and animals for respiration.
Smart trees, I would say! Especially when the trees end up pumping life-giving oxygen back into the air as part of the process!
My innate curiosity pushes me on. And I find myself ever less satisfied with the answer that keeps coming to me: “accumulated mutations”, “millions of years!”
Is there really no other answer? Apparently not--at least not if one is searching through the thousands upon thousands of scholarly tomes lining the shelves of the libraries we have here in Canada and elsewhere. Nor does a search of scientific studies on the worldwide Internet turn up such a satisfying answer.
The Authoritative Sources Cited in this E-book
The authoritative statements we present are from the most widely circulated book in history, God’s own Book, the Bible. They are considered among the most authoritative and reliable statements to be found anywhere. We will be using this Bible icon to indicate direct quotations from the Bible.
The translation of Bible portions used throughout this book has been prepared with great care, including comparison with the original Greek and Hebrew texts. It will be best considered an amalgamation from various reliable sources, rather than as a new rendering. The reader is urged to select one good translation for general reading (the author recommends NLT, ESV and NIV—all readily available online at Bible Gateway.com). See also “All the Bible has to say about Creation” (Appendix 4).
Conventional wisdom tells me, “You can’t go down that path! We have developed a ‘consensus’ that such thinking leads nowhere. The very thought of intelligent control must be rejected. It is mere superstition. We have concluded among ourselves that science has forever closed that door!”
But sometimes conventional wisdom stumbles! Once, the overwhelming consensus of scholars and wise men agreed, “The world is flat! If you go too far, you’ll fall off the edge!” Until someone actually sailed around the world and proved it to be not flat, but round! The consensus of the day was wrong, wrong , wrong!
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now, the earth was an empty wasteland, devoid of living things, in complete darkness. The Spirit of God was hovering with anticipation over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1, 2)
Actually, there turns out to be an insistent voice that challenges conventional wisdom. It is the Voice of Someone who claims to have made it all! And with careful planning and detailed forethought!
He claims to have made everything, including the birds and the animals, the fish and the people. So we ask the obvious question: why cannot I accept the claims He has made? Why not investigate those claims?
“Preposterous! That would be simply out of the question!” comes the curt answer. “We are a super intelligent generation, well-educated and knowledgeable. Such superstition is below us! To think that someone, and especially someone we cannot see with our own eyes, could have made this world in which we live, is simply preposterous superstition! We will not give it a second thought!”
But the Voice persists: “I made it. With my own Hands, I made it all!” And resisting the contrary clamber of conventional wisdom, we set out to look at these “preposterous” claims.
Is there any truth in them?
I propose that we set off on an intriguing odyssey to check out these claims. The journey begins with a lifeless piece of rock called Planet Earth, when it was still in its original state, with deep crevasses marking its surface, hurtling through outer space.
The journey will take seven days—168 hours. And it will take us step-by-step through the first week of Earth’s history. The destination? If these “preposterous” claims turn out to be true, it will end with a stunningly beautiful picture of a vibrant new world, overflowing with such a variety of living things as to stagger the imagination!
Let’s call it, “ Seven Awesome Days that Transformed a Planet!”, a journey through the First Seven Days of our world.
To make our trip truly meaningful, we will want to take along three things:
- The Book in which these claims are presented in detail.
- Our discerning and well-read Observer, with all the latest information concerning the world around us. He is committed to our criteria of True Science, to the actual observation of tangible things (as opposed to mere theories), and to honest reporting of the facts (including things in the world of atoms and molecules).
- A Guide, who genuinely knows what he is talking about and what to look for as we proceed step-by-step through our journey.
First, let’s see if we can find these three essentials. Ready? Let’s go!
The Incredible Book
We take up the Book handed to us--the one that claims to tell the story of earth’s beginnings. What does it say?
Glancing at Page One, we find:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
And on the first few pages of The Book, we find a remarkable account of a Creator God and the amazing work He accomplished.
Further on, we even have this Creator’s own first-hand description of His work! Listen!
“I have made the earth and created man upon it. I, with My own hands, have stretched out the heavens and set in place the host of stars they contain.” (Isaiah 45:11, 12).
“I have made the earth, and the men and animals that are on the face of the earth, by My mighty power and My outstretched arm.” (Jeremiah 27:5)
If it’s true, it is truly amazing! Reading on in those early pages of The Book, we find eighty verses in three full chapters presenting a detailed picture of what a Great Creator accomplished over a period of seven days.
Seven days, mind you—168 hours!
Here, in only 120 words or so, a picture is painted of an amazing transformation! The planet goes from being an empty wasteland, devoid of life and in total darkness, to a luxuriant New World, throbbing with life and peopled by millions of vibrant living creatures!
All in seven days! A remarkable claim indeed!
Anything about the purpose for which the New World was made? And how it came to be in its present condition? Are these further details given? Well, yes. And reading through the rest of The Book, we find that The Book itself even claims to be a gift sent from heaven. We could call it, “The Incredible Book.”
And thumbing through it, we uncover more than a hundred and sixty statements, some long, some short, where further details are given! It’s really a staggering array of information, including seventeen places that tell how the foundations of the new world were laid out! Quite amazing!
“Sounds like quite a comprehensive Guidebook for our seven-day Journey!” our Observer comments.
The Amazing World of Nature
Follow this link
to “All the Bible says about Creation,” the complete 167 portions of the Bible that deal with this subject. (appendix 4).
For our next essential, we turn to look at the world around us. We gaze in wonder at its spacious skies, its flowing rivers, its majestic mountains, the amazing way it all meshes together. It turns out to be a marvelous world, functioning effectively, meshing together in an amazing way. It is an awe-inspiring world indeed!If all of this first came into being during that first amazing week, how much has it changed since? We realize that it is, after all, the same world! And we realize that it will still reflect, at the very least, something of the wonders of that first amazing week in the earth’s history!
So we look for ways to expand our understanding of the world around us. And we find in our well-stocked libraries a wealth of information, from men and women who have dedicated their lives to observing this world of ours and searching out even the mysteries involved. Their insights help us greatly and we are deeply grateful for them.
For the purposes of this study we have chosen to accept those views and statements which are backed by a consensus of five or more reliable and reputable sources, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica and the well-documented research of reputable Universities. When at least five such sources agree as to the facts involved, we accept that consensus as reasonably reliable, including the careful research into the world of atoms and molecules, the so-called “nanoworld” of modern science.
To keep us fully abreast of these available insights, we look for a competent Observer—and find one readily available, giving us moment-by-moment access to a whole wide world of helpful information. We invite him along, as a member of our expedition.
But here, a problem looms. In seeking to push forward the frontiers of knowledge, men of science have added novel theories to the clearly observable facts. These are designed to explore new possibilities. Perhaps there is a new reality out there. Let’s check it out and see, they say. Sometimes it turns out to be a new and wonderful unveiling of something not seen or recognized before. Sometimes, it leads nowhere and the underlying theory has to be abandoned.
How does this affect our Journey? After all, we are looking for clear, demonstrable fact, not the theories that men may have developed.
So, we simply agree that for the purpose of our journey we will limit ourselves to those facts that point out clearly what our world is and how it functions. The speculative areas we will set aside, waiting for another day when they may, or may not, prove to be true.
With this understanding we press forward, confident in our grasp of the plain facts concerning the world around us.
We soon find that in books and magazines, and especially on the Internet, there is a wealth of information we can use to help in our quest, and that meets our criteria. We find that knowledge of our world is increasing daily, to an extent that staggers the imagination, and is being made available to us freely through the instant communication system that is the Internet. We realize that we have a truly wonderful “window” on the world, one that will be exceedingly meaningful as we proceed with our Journey, especially to our keen Observer.
The internet especially provides a wealth of up-to-date and reliable information, though the sources often need to be checked carefully.
Virtually every word and concept of scientific discovery can be researched and confirmed in this way.
But what of that capable Guide, our remaining need? We discover there is one readily available! A Master Teacher, and One who is amazingly knowledgeable, both of the world around us and of the Incredible Book before us.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, (Helper, Encourager—margin) who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” (John 14:16, 17).
In this presentation our ”Guide” is not so much intended to reflect the Holy Spirit in His exalted heavenly place, but rather His work when He indwells a believing heart and gives guidance and encouragement to the believer.
But that leads me to the story of another journey!
My Incredible Odyssey
My own incredible journey begins on a hot summer’s night.
Darkness has descended over Eagle Ridge Hospital where I lay, restless and despairing. The vital signs on the monitor above my hospital bed are inching lower and lower. I have not eaten for several days. None of the steps ordered by the doctors in their frequent calls seem to be having the desired effect. I wonder, “O Lord! Is this the moment of Your call? If so, I relish the thought of the glories of Heaven and of stepping into Your Presence!”
But then, quite unexpectedly, the atmosphere in that darkened hospital room changes!
My mind is drawn to an aging servant of the Lord at a crucial moment in his life. His name is Paul. He is in the custody of Julius, an officer of the Imperial Regiment, and is being taken to the great metropolis, Rome.
gives the account of the
Apostle Paul’s shipwreck.
The urgent call has just gone out that the ship on which he is sailing has run aground! It is sinking, torn apart by violent waves! All 276 passengers on board face certain death in the raging waters. Staring at the towering mountains of water that come crashing down on their doomed ship, everyone is expecting the next wave to be his last!
But the man in chains stands and raises his voice above the howling winds. “Don’t be afraid, men! Get some food in your stomachs! You haven’t eaten for two weeks! Tonight, an angel of the God I serve stood beside me and assured me that not one single life would be lost in this storm! We will all get to land safely! Take courage, men! It will be just as God has told me!”
Sure enough, in a short time the winds shifted. Each man grabbed a piece of the broken ship—and everyone got to land safely! Not one was lost! And Paul, the servant of the Living God, was able to carry on with his God-given task. God had indeed given him a new lease on life!
Somehow, my restlessness ceased as I relived this event. In its place, the quiet confidence of a child in his Father’s arms. My heart responded, “Like Paul, I can say I have had a mission given to me by God, and it is not yet complete—telling the story of Creation and its wonders to this generation. And it was as though the Creator Himself stood beside me and whispered, “You shall not die, but live! You will tell of the loving care I have expressed in My work of Creation. I still have work for you to do!” I turned over in my hospital bed, and slept like a baby! In the morning, they brought breakfast. And though I had not eaten for several days, I wolfed it down. All of it! Within a few days I was discharged from Eagle Ridge Hospital, still faltering in step but buoyant in spirit.
God in His mercy had reached down, and touched me! With that same mighty Hand that made our world, He had touched me! And that touch was all I needed!
I had found the capable Guide needed for our seven-day Journey—none other than the Holy Spirit Himself! He was the very One who had superintended the writing of the Incredible Book and guided its forty or more writers. He knew every jot and tittle of the Book, in great detail! He would be able to guide unerringly to the significance of every word written.
He also knew all about that First Week of the world’s history. He knew what had transpired. After all, He was there! He had worked on the planning and knew exactly how the work had progressed through its various stages.
What a Guide! And He was making Himself available for the Journey!
Where should I pick up the thread of my own personal quest? “Foundations!” The word had gripped me as I had come on the astounding claim that God had made, “I, with My Own Hands laid the foundations of the world.” Often overlooked, I had come on a most vital part of the work of Creation. Now I could go on and look further into this amazing subject. And it was as though the Great Creator Himself were standing right there with me, ready to show the way.
“Your Creator, (is) the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth.
‘I stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth’”
(Isaiah 51:13, 16)
So what was the first “lesson” as He began His marvelous guided tour? That to fully understand “The Foundations” is beyond human reach! Those foundations are too wonderful for human understanding! Our Capable Guide takes us to Jeremiah and reminds us:
- We are not capable of measuring the heavens (they are simply too vast!), and
- We are not capable of exploring the Foundations of the Earth (they are simply too complex, too wonderful!)
“This is what the Lord says, ‘Just as the heavens cannot be measured, and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored…’”
These Foundations are so marvelous and so mysterious as to leave us in dazed amazement at the wonder of them! Nevertheless, we can dip our toes in the vast ocean of mystery surrounding them and learn to appreciate the fringes of what a Great Creator has done.
So we learn in “lesson one” in the company of our Guide to look with deep humility at the Foundations the Creator laid, realizing they are among the wonders of His unfathomable Wisdom. But our Guide beckons on, and we follow…
The Book in hand,
Our eyes scanning the world around us,
Our discerning Observer ready with detailed explanations, and
Our amazing Guide leading the way!