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Quinton Thomas

The History of Creation
Introduction to Christianity
Research Paper
November 29, 2012

“In the beginning…”, a single phrase that has become one of the most
universally-known phrases both inside and outside of the religious sphere.
This phrase, igniting the fire that is the Biblical account of creation, holds
certain implications that one cannot overlook. For fundamentalists who
interpret the words literally, the creation story in Genesis sets up the very
foundation for Christianity as a whole. Similar to any religious text that
carries any weight, the story of creation, in the many years since it was first
written, has compiled a separate history of its own with its fair share of
In order to properly examine the history of the account of creation as
told in Genesis, one must first become familiar with the text itself. The
passage is separated into seven days of creation. On the first day of creation,
God forges the “heavens and the earth”, as well as “the light and the
darkness.” Biblically, this is the first “day” in history. Then, in sequence,
comes the second day on which God creates a vault between the water
below and the water above. He calls this vault the “sky”. Then came third
day in the creation story; on this day, God separates the “land” from the
“sea”. According to the New International Version of the Bible, God looked at
his creation and “saw that it was good,” thus closing the third day in the
history of the universe. On the following day, God said, “Let the land produce
vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with
seed in it, according to their various kinds”, and then, the plants did so.
Again, God looked at his Creation and saw that it was good. Also on the

fourth day, God created a light to govern the day called the Sun, as well as a
light to lesser light to govern the night, the Moon. He also created the stars
that inhabit the vastness of the universe. On the fifth day, he said “Let the
water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the
vault of the sky.” With this statement, he created the creatures of the sea,
land, and sky, and told them to multiply to fill the earth with their likeness.
Then, on the sixth, and arguably the most important day of the group, God
said “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may
rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and
all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
This gave mankind complete dominion over the earth and all its inhabitants.
Saying “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth
and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for


And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all

the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of
life in it—I give every green plant for food,” God made mankind the greatest
of all his creations thus far. And finally, on the seventh day known the day of
rest, God took an admiring look at his creation, and once again, he saw that
it was good. In the time following the first full week in history, God created a
man, the first man to ever exist, and named him Adam. God “took the man
and put him in the Garden of Eden (the paradise God had created) to work it
and take care of it.” God saw the universe and saw that it was good. He did,
however, see that Adam was in need of helper other than the animals of the

land. And in his final act of Creation, God took a rib from Adam’s abdomen
and with it, created him a helper, a helper that would be known as “woman.”
He named the first woman in the history of our planet “Eve”. According to
this Biblical account, he act of creation was complete. The Judeo-Christian
God had created everything from the birds of the sky to the creatures of the
deep sea. He had created the stars in the universe as well as the rocks of the
earth. Everything big and small, living and nonliving, every beginning and
every end, had its start in that single act of creation by the one and only
supreme being to occupy the Universe. This story, however, like many
aspects of the Christian religion, has come under scrutiny and constant
criticism in the recent past.
November 24, 1859 has become one of the most important single days
in the history of the Biblical account of the Creation of the Universe. On this
day, an English biologist by the name of Charles Darwin published the most
notable work of his career, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural
Selection. Contrary to what the figureheads of religion had said, and what
the devout had believed, for centuries, this work painted a less-glamorous,
non-divine picture of what happened when the Universe was young and how
humans came into existence. According to Darwin, every living species, from
humans to plankton, are subject to a process known as Evolution by Natural
Selection. According to the National Science Foundation, the process of

evolution occurs with a collaborative effort between gene mutations and the
survival of the well-suited to one’s own environment. Basically, if a specific
gene mutation causes an organism to be more suited to a particular
environment, then that organism will thrive and reproduce. Conversely, if a
gene mutation causes a species to be less suited for an environment, that
species will, for the most part, be unable to reproduce in order to ensure its
own survival, thus causing that species to ultimately become extinct, erased
from the surface of the earth forever. According to Darwin, this process,
coupled with millions and millions of generations, are the cause of how we,
as humans, were first formed. Through the process of natural selection, we
evolved the ability to see, the ability to hear, the ability to smell, and the
ability to think. This theory asserts that not only are we the descendants of
primates, but we are the descendants of the smallest known existent
organism. Darwin’s theory of evolution has since taken thrilled the scientific
world with its tell-all foundation. For the religious, however, this theory has
been welcomed in a different way. Religious affiliates, then and even today,
have a very difficult time agreeing with a theory that equates humankind
with the likes of chimpanzees and monkeys. Comparable to a time when we
thought the earth was the center of the universe, religion, at least
Christianity, points to humanity as the privileged purpose of the entirety of
the universe. Even in Genesis, God presents Adam and Eve as the
dominative presence in the Garden of Eden and on the earth as a whole. A
proposed theory that goes as far as to question religious dogma was

considered heresy by any of those that professed to being a God-fearing
man, woman, or child. In 1859, the Creation story as told in Genesis was at a
critical point, and it was up to the leading members of Christianity to ensure
the survival of one of the key points held so closely for centuries upon
Early in the 20th century, a theory came to light that once again
exposed religious to another barrage of criticism from the scientific
community. The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the
very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have
shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a
beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that
moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort
to explain what happened during and after that moment. Two of the
posterboys of this theory, Edwin Hubble and Georges Lemaître, after
exploring evidence collected in several experiments, proposed that the
Universe was not static, but in reality, was expanding. They believed that if
one were to look far enough into the universe, they would see that the
starting point was actually very small and infinitely dense. They proposed
that every proton, neutron and election, every element, and every piece of
matter, was at once, at a singular point. They called this point the
“singularity”. And jumping off the work that Albert Einstein had pioneered,

they stated that the very beginning of time and space and the entire
universe exploded into existence with one single blast, i.e. The Big Bang
(Gentry). This theory, now almost-universally accepted by the scientific
community, further heaped criticism on the literal interpreters of the creation
account within Genesis. Adam and Eve were under attack, as were many of
verses that created a pillar of the Jewish and Christian religions. The great
question of how the universe began and how humans came to be were
beginning to be answered by the scientific method rather than religious
texts, and the world was taking notice. The Big Bang Theory, just like the
Theory of Evolution, once again caused the creation account in the world
religions to offer a retort or risk losing its devout followers.
Even before Evolution and the Big Bang, several individuals throughout
history had different interpretation on the story of Creation in Genesis rather
than that of a historical event. Some say that the point is mute and has no
real significance on the person of God or on the reality of a certain religious
belief. After the Big Bang Theory started to gain more speed in the scientific
community, varying schools of thought began to surface on the issue of the
creation of the universe and its reconciliation with the natural sciences.

Young-Earth Creationism

One notable camp that came about during this time that addressed the
creation of the universe became known as young-earth creation. Young Earth
creationism is basically the belief that the Creation account in the text of the
Bible is accurate and should be interpreted as a historical event that actually
happened. It is the belief that our planet and universe were created, from
nothing, in six days, approximately 6,000 years ago, by the God of the
Abrahamic religions. Adherents of young Earth creationism are known as
"young Earth creationists". Their belief derives from a literal interpretation of
the creation story in the book of Genesis. This means young Earth
creationists believe the six days described in Genesis were standard 24-hour
days. The way the Young-Earth Creationist decide to reconcile their beliefs
with theories such as the Big Bang Theory and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,
is to simply disregard any scientific evidence as placed by God in order to
test the faith of believers. They believe that anything that is contrary to
Genesis is just an attempt by the divine to separate the wheat from the
chaff. In recent years, this belief has come under much criticism. It has,
however, become popular in the United States. According to a Gallup poll
taken in 2011, 30% of the American Judeo-Christian followers believe that
God himself made the universe and the earth in a similar event to those
explained in Genesis.
Old-Earth Creationism

Another theory that has surfaced due too much of the scientific
findings in the past century is known as Old-Earth Creationism. Old-Earth
Creationists have made an attempt to reconcile their religious views with the
theories of the scientific community. This reconciliation is done in several
different ways, separating Old-Earth Creationism in to several different
branches, such as “Gap Creationism”, “Progressivism Creationism”, and also
“Theistic Evolution” (Morris). Each one of these individual theories is an
attempt of religious individuals to interpret the writings of Genesis with the
scientific findings of our time, and with their own scientific consciences.
Unlike Young-Earth Creationism, certain concessions are made by Old-Earth
Creationism in order to silence the critics. Some Old-Earth Creationist
believes that God uses evolution as a system to govern and maintain the
natural method of the universe. Others believe that there is a God did create
man and woman in a Genesis-like event, but that he made the universe
billions of years ago in a separate, Big-Bang-Theory-esque way. Not only has
Old-Earth Creationism come under fire from some of the scientific
community, but because of its denial of a literal interpretation of Genesis,
criticism from Young-Earth Creationists are also common.
Denial of the Genesis Account
Before the proposals of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang
Theory, it was difficult for an individual to be agnostic, much less atheistic.
For those who may not have wholly believed the account as told in Genesis,

there was an inconvenient lack of evidence. After the likes of Darwin, Hubble,
and Einstein, however, this type of scientific evidence is abundant and, at
least in this era of high-speed communication and information transmission,
easily accessible. Because of this, many individuals have overlooked Pascal
and abandoned the Biblical Creation and organized religion as a whole. In
2005, the number of United States citizens that considered themselves
“religious” made a drastic drop from 71% (from when the last poll was taken)
to just over 60%. Simultaneously, atheism has seen a significant rise in
American culture. The percentage of citizens that considered themselves
“atheistic” quintupled in size (Winston, 2012). Many experts explain this rise
to be a result of the works of thinkers such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins,
Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett. This group of proclaimed atheistic
affiliates has recently become known as the “New Athiests”. The beliefs of
these individuals follow the parameters set by Darwin and the Big Bang
scientists. The Universe was created from a singularity billions of years ago,
and after millions and millions of generations, life as we know it evolved on
the planet earth. The religious community has met this increase with dozens
of arguments that support the existence of God including the ontological
argument, the teleological argument, the design argument, and the
cosmological argument.
Whether a person describes themselves as a staunch atheist or a
devout Christian, his or her interpretation of the Genesis account of creation
certainly plays a role in those beliefs. The history of differing perspectives

and ongoing debate between contradicting schools of thought on the subject
have cemented the Biblical creation story as one of the all-time greatest hot
topics, religious or otherwise, that will likely live on into perpetuity.

Works Cited
"Biblical Young Earth Creationism." Biblical Young Earth Creationism. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <>.
"Evolution of Evolution." National Science Foundation, 22 Apr. 2010. Web. 12
Nov. 2012.
"Gap Creationism Explained by Rev. James A. Woodruff." Gap Creationism
Explained. N.p., 4 July 2008. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.
"Genesis.1-2" The Holy Bible: New International Version : Containing the Old
Testament and the New Testament. Colorado Springs, CO: International
Bible Society, 1984. N. pag. Print.

Gentry, Robert. "New Cosmic Center Universe Model Matches Eight of Big
Bang’s Major Predictions Without The F-L Paradigm." N.p., 4
May 2003. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <>.
Morris, Henry, Dr. "Old-Earth Creationism." Old-Earth Creationism. N.p., n.d.
Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <>.
Winston, Kimberly| Religion News. "Poll Shows Atheism on the Rise in the
U.S." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 12
Nov. 2012. <>.