Biblical Creativity: Day 3a Motion

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:9-10

On Day 3 God introduces us to flow or motion for the first time.  This has the very significant effect of enabling the materials that were in suspension in the water from the beginning to separate out and so the dry land appears.

I’m loving this.  The elegance, comprehensiveness and beauty of the creation account is staggering:

In the beginning God creates all the materials (elements) that He wants to work with.  They exist in an amorphous watery mess suspended on nothing in darkness.  The Spirit is pregnant with ideas and the Word then is spoken.

On Day 1 the framework of time and space is spoken into being and light is the measuring tool that constrains and simultaneously illuminates everything.

On Day 2 space is created and so now objects can be made.  The first distinguishable objects are the heavens and the earth.

On the first part of Day 3 God introduces the idea of motion.  The earth (and everything else) spins and (just like in a centrifuge) dry land appears.

Now God has the base on which He can start making beautiful things.

Biblical Creativity: Day 2 Space

Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

Genesis 1:6-8

The concept of space is so fundamental we can easily miss its significance.  If there was no space there could be no objects.  You, I, trees, rocks and any of the myriad objects that exist can only exist in the context of their being a thing called space between them.

So the second day’s creation of this simple thing called space is as fundamental as the concept of light to all creation.  Without light we can neither see nor understand anything.  Without space we cannot even be defined.

The first thing God defines using space is the difference between the heavens and the earth.  These are the two fundamental objects of God’s project of creation.

In the world of programming where I work, man has also understood the fundamental importance of objects.  Object oriented programming is a way of understanding how to create anything in software and is based on this concept of defined entities with space between them.  The creation of space enables the creation of objects.

So you’ve taken space for granted but what an astonishing idea!

What are the fundamental objects of your project?

Biblical Creativity Day 1: The EM Spectrum

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.[a] The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

Genesis 1:1-3

In my last post on this subject I looked at the raw materials God had to work with when creating everything.  Quite surprisingly the only raw material is water which somehow seems to have been there without God having yet said or done anything.

Peter says this about how it all happened:

They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.

2 Peter 3: 5-7

In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth and somehow there is water there from which the earth was brought out.

Back in Genesis 1:3 we see the creation proper starting with “And God said: Let there be light.”  We know from John’s gospel that the Word that was spoken with all that creative power is actually Jesus (John 1).  When God speaks He manifests His image and in a sense – from our point of view at least – begets His Son.  Of course Jesus was always there but He is not manifested to us until God speaks.  And the first thing God speaks is “Let there be light.”

Light is also a synonym for understanding – without Jesus we would have no understanding of God so that is the first gift God gives us all.

It should be noted that this light has nothing to do with the sun which isn’t created until the fourth day.  This seems counter intuitive – everyone knows that the day starts when the light from the sun appears above the horizon.

However light is fundamentally something different from what we see.  Light is part of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum which consists of everything from gamma rays, through x rays, ultraviolet, visible, infrared and all the radio waves (HF, VHF, UHF, microwaves, etc.)  It is only in the last 150 years that we have been able to use a lot of these waves to communicate, heat our food and see bones under flesh.

These waves all obey the same God given laws.  They fundamentally frame everything we do.  Space and time are constrained by the speed of light (which is the same as the speed of all the EM waves in a vacuum).  Nothing can go faster than it.  As you approach the speed of light it always looks to you like it is travelling at the same speed.  Eventually time stops when you go that fast.   So it is fitting that light frames the first idea of time, that of the day (with no sun involved).

So this first day light is more fundamental than the sun or any other source of light.

A practical application when you are creating anything is to start with making it clear what you are doing.  Communication is everything.  Unless there is first understanding (light) between all the parties involved nothing else can happen.

God spoke and so must we if we are to create anything.

Biblical Creativity

There can’t be a better way of being creative than the way God is creative.

So let’s look at His creative ways.  And no better place to start than with the Creation.

The Account of Creation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.[a] The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

13 And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.

14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. 15 Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. 16 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

19 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.

20 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”

23 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day.

24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings[b] in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth,[c] and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings[d] in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!

And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

Footnotes

  1. 1:1 Or In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, . . . Or When God began to create the heavens and the earth, . . .
  2. 1:26a Or man; Hebrew reads adam.
  3. 1:26b As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads all the earth.
  4. 1:27 Or the man; Hebrew reads ha-adam.

In the beginning God

So in the beginning means at the start of something which by definition introduces space -time for the first time in space.  All the theories and observations to date indicate that space and time are related by a constant called “c” which is the speed of light.  Nothing can go faster than the speed of light.  The closer you get to the speed of light the slower time goes until it eventually stops (which is why you can’t go any faster).  My favourite experiment that shows this is in this video.

So that was the first thing God put in place – a frame of measurement and constraints.

Likewise, when we are creating anything the first things we need to consider are where we are going to do it and when.  And we also need to take into account the fact that we are constrained – we don’t have infinite time or space available to us.  We need to know how much of each we have and the relationship between the two.  How much space do I have to do this in and how much time.

The heavens and the earth

God then made the base context of all the future creativity, the heavens and the earth.  Heavens and earth are the fundamental context in which He was going to do everything else.

Likewise when we are being creative we need to start with the fundamentals of what we are working with.   The heavens represent abstract things which we are not able to put our hands on, ideas mainly.  The earth represents the material things we have to work with.  Abstract ideas and material things are the context in which we all work.

The earth was formless and empty

Raw materials are always this way at the beginning of any creation.

And darkness covered the deep waters

No matter where we have been in the universe to date we have discovered water.  NASA even says that the universe is awash with water which keeps turning up in surprising places.  It seems that the formless and empty universe was a ball of water initially.  I imagine God with a ball of water in His hands in the beginning.

God didn’t need to see it (he knows his creation without light) but He somehow conceived that His creation would need to “see” it.  So the concept of darkness is introduced, i.e. the absence of something. Something is missing, e.g. understanding, light.

Likewise at the beginning of a creative project we have raw materials and some ideas but we need to understand better what we are going to create – we need to be able to see it.

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters

And to see something creatively we need inspiration, a spark of creative genius.  Call it what you will, none of us can create without the inspiration of a spirit.  We see this all around us.  People talk about man’s spirit, devils, angels and the Holy Spirit inspiring all sorts of things.  Ultimately nothing happens without the consideration, the brooding of a spirit on the ideas and the materials.  Understanding starts here.

When you are being creative, what inspires you?