Did God delegate something special to you? Are you doing it?
Observe the following verses:
"It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss"
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In the original Aramaic the verse which is numbered 5:31 in NIV is in this chapter as 6:1, so these 1-2 should be 1-3. Otherwise this English version is perfect. The identity of this Darius the Mede has been established in a NOTE at the end of the previous passage (you can read it at the end of Daniel 5:29-31)
What is the king doing? What's the meaning of this act?
This chapter six in the book of Daniel is the last one which deals mainly with events of the prophet's life - and his friends' - because from chapter seven we can read the prophetical and apocalyptic chapters. We can read here about the story of Daniel in the lions den.
Why did the Lord confirmed a decision of a pagan king regarding Daniel?
The word of God shows us that God should give freedom to the Jews after seventy years of Babylonian captivity, and should let them come back to Israel, in order to rebuild Jerusalem. Jeremiah prophesied how long this captivity should be, and Isaiah, that the Persian king Cyrus should be the one who should deliver the Jews from it.
To form a government, the task we see king Darius doing here as a vassal king of Cyrus, was in God's plan for the Persian Empire, which would be His instrument to influence Israel's history to that destiny He had for them. But in a wider sense, he is obeying the divine call to human government. In Daniel 2:31-33 in this site you can read that Babylonia was called "head of gold" in the prophetical interpretation that Daniel got about Nebuchadnezzar's dream. To form this government as Darius was doing, was God's plan.
The word of God teaches us that it is God who establishes authorities (Romans 13:1) That's why the king's enemies, those who opposed Daniel's election and the plans that the king had with him, actually opposed God's purpose. When you read the whole chapter you can see how the Lord gave Daniel the victory and defeated his shrewd enemies.
From the king's activity we can learn something that other Biblical passages show us also: DELEGATION. God, as King of the universe, is the One who's delegated everyone what to do. Moses was Israel's leader, and the Lord Jesus Christ the head of His church; that's why the people of God has obeyed them.
Observe the following examples of delegation:
"When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick"
"He told them: “Take nothing for the journey - no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them"
"So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere"
The disciples went out to do that mission that their Lord gave them. He gave them power and authority to do it, and several practical instructions about the way they would do it. See another example:
"The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said,"
"What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?"
"Moses answered him, 'Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions"
"Moses’ father-in-law replied, 'What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied"
"Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves"
"Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country"
The wisdom of the priest of Midian is evident in these instructions he gave to Moses his son-in-law, especially when he at the end commends him to obey God. "If you do this AND GOD SO COMMANDS" has a special connotation for us believers. Jethro had no intention of giving a good idea to his son-in-law or that Moses should consider his words that way, but as word of God, the way God communicates his modus operandi to us. That delegation which we see in Moses, following his father-in-law's counsel, was from God. Jethro was simply God's instrument to teach him.
When we read about the creation of the universe, we can see God's greatness and majesty, His government over the whole universe, in the way everything obeyed Him to reach the condition we see now. If you have some doubts about this creation, welcome to the final NOTE where you can find some keys. Observe how God delegated:
The first day: delegating to the Spirit and His Son, God created heavens and earth, the light and the definition of day and night (light and darkness)
The second day He commanded the waters, delegated them to do something, and created this sky we can see, the atmosphere.
The third day He commanded the formation of continents, delegated this task to the planet, and it happened, through tectonic movement. Then He ordered the earth to produce vegetation, and the earth obeyed Him.
The fourth day commanded God that the Sun, the Moon and the stars should be VISIBLE in the sky. We emphasize this because the passage doesn't imply that they were created this "day". From previos days we have day and night and even vegetation, several things which are inconceivable without the Sun's existence. This delegation was given to the atmosphere, which became transparent enough to allow the celestial bodies to be visible from earth. See the final NOTE if you want to know the details.
It is meaningful that God separated things (light / darkness, sea / clouds, seas / earth) in these first days. God wanted to create different animals in different habitats, and he created those kinds habitat (marine or terrestrial ones, sunny or dark ones, with vegetation or arid ones, warm, temperate or cold ones, etc.)
The fifth day God delegated to the waters to produce animal life. This happened once that way; then he delegated to the animals to reproduce themselves and to multiply, after giving them the reproduction mechanisms all of them have to do it.
The sixth day God delegated the earth to produce another kinds of animals, and finally, He created the human being. Even when the man was made from the same earth, there is a difference between us and animals, in the fact that the Lord "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life". To confer His Spirit is a special act from God to us humans, which you can't see in another living creature, vegetal or animal.
In any form of delegation it is implicit:
1) That you recognise the authority of the one delegating
2) That you obey (you perform those tasks given to you)
Moses officers obeyed the prophet; the disciples obeyed Our Lord Jesus Christ; the matter, the waters, the earth, plants and animals obeyed God.
Have God delegated something special to you?
If your answer is "no", let me show you something he delegated us many centuries ago:
"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well"
Are you doing this task which God delegated you?
If you're doing it, Hallelujah!
If you're not, seek the Lord! He didn't call any of us to abandone him or her without knowing what to do. Together with the vision, He gives us wisdom and means to carry on His mission.
If you have not received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, there's time yet! Time will come when terrible persecutions will arise for every believer in this world, and then it will be hard to receive Jesus when you're delivered to die because of Him. And the time will come when we will leave this world - because we all die - and the opportunity will be gone. Today is your salvation day, the hour when God wants to set you free from condemnation and give you eternal life! Receive Jesus and, with Him, all blessings He has promised in His word.
May the Lord bless you!
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus comes quickly!
Before we speak about the issue of creation, we want to thanks Jesus Christ for that team which is working in the site "Reasons to believe", which link "http://www.reasons.org/explore/topic/interpreting-genesis" we always show and which we recommend because of their work in favor of Biblical teachings. These text should be impossible for me to write, since I'm not an astronomer, paleontologist or archaeologist. Everything I believed about God's creation was wihout the support and EVIDENCE that this site provides to us believers. Nevertheless, I believed BY FAITH only, and the Lord has confirmed this faith and enriched it through these wonderful teachings. If you're fighting with liberalism-atheism-darwinism you were taught in school - like I was - and with the right interpretation of God's word - there are several ones - then you can receive the same blessing I got.
Before you get this blessing, you have to identify two spirits of fear and rebuke them, so that your heart is ready for the truth. The first one is that we called "liberalism-atheism-darwinism". These three evils came with the so called "Enlightenment" and they are fatal to real believers. Before you use scientifical evidence for the Word you have to know that this evidence is a blessing, but the Word of God doesn't stand because of some scientifical evidence, but because it is true.
The risk of being called "illiterate" and "ignorant" has made many people to accept evolution, a theory which denies God's word AND THE FOSSIL RECORD (the real "scientifical evidence" that scientists should respect if they are going to speak the truth) And you don't have to fear when you reject lies and speculation without evidence. We have certain knowledge of the existence of the T-rex or the mammoth, because we have found their fossilized rests - or not so fossilized. But we have NO REAL KNOWLEDGE showing that another animal evolved to became a mammoth. We don't have some real knowledge showing that the least unicellular creature (which being microscopic is able to eat, breath, walk, etc) was formed from inorganic matter "in a natural way", "by chance". All we have to sustain this positions is the speculations of persons that believe in darwinism, the theory of a man which didn't know a word about DNA and its function in the transmission of the features of the living beings, and who wanted to prove God unnecessary. May the Lord have mercy on those souls and set them free from condemnation.
Another source of fear you have to be free from is that of getting lost - go to hell - because you don't accept some Biblical interpretation which is proven false. Let me give you an example.
In these times we are living we know that the Earth is orbiting the Sun, as other planets do, because we have instruments which permit to understand these things and because some people has been in the outer space and has seen the universe from another perspective, not only from the earth. But the man who discovered this was compelled under death menace to deny it on June 22 1633, by Catholic authorities which taught that the earth is the center of the world and that the sun was revolving the around the earth. Ir doesn't matter which verse of the Bible they twisted in order to present this idea as "the truth". The Bible doesn't say it, and Galileo was right, not his enemies. It is very important to be able to know the difference between what "the Bible says" and what it doesn't say.
The Word of God is wonderful. You can find in it stories, literature, poetry, songs, prophecies and many more things that God uses to talk to us. And when you interpret literature, one of your first questions should be what does it mean (if it is literal or figurative, symbolic or allegoric) If you want God to talk to you through His word, it is crucial for you to seek what He says, and not to force Him to say something He didn't say.
The notion of a planet earth with many millions years old, and the existence of animals that lived millions years ago, is no speculation, but a knowledge we can prove with abundant evidence. We don't have to fear searching for a concordance between that we read in the Word and that we have known by other means. The same God inspired the Bible and created the universe, then they are both true. The word of God says that the creation itself testify about the Creator (Romans 1:20) and many disciplines of scientifical knowledge support this testimony. "Scientist" is not a synonym of "atheist".
In order to understand creation we need to understand first that Genesis two first chapters are a prophecy, and that YOM (the Hebrew word for "day") doesn't have to mean a 24 hours day.
Figurative language is present often in prophetical writings, as the apocalyptic passages, the predictive ones or those which deal with creation. "Prophetic" is not only predictive, but it has to do with the present and even the past, both from God's perspective. Observe these verses:
Isaiah 41:22: "Tell us, you idols, what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome"
The prophet is sarcastically calling false gods to prophesy. Because they can't tell us what happened in Genesis 1, 2 (the former things, creation) and up to now, or what will happen in the future, they are no real gods. In this verse, the prophet put together past and future events.
Revelation 1:19: "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later"
Johannes should write as "prophecy"
- The things past
- The things of the present
- The things to come
Both verses show us that prophecy has to do with present time, past and future. With this knowledge we can seek for some different meanings of the word "day" in the Bible.
(or its Greek equivalent "EMERA" being used by the Jewish writers of the NT, that thought as Jews even when they spoke or wrote in Greek) can be understood many times
YOM = 12 hours (en English we say also "day and night")
Gn 1:5 "God called the light "day" [YOM=12 hours] , and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day [YOM=24 hours] "
Gn 8:22 "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day [YOM=12 hours] and night will never cease"
Ps 1:2 "...but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day [YOM=12 hours] and night"
YOM = 24 hours (we use the same meaning in English to speak about a "day" beginning at midnight - 12:00 - to the next midnight)
Gn 22:4 "On the third day [YOM=24 hours] Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance"
Ex 16:29 "Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day [YOM=24 hours] he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day [YOM=24 hours] ; no one is to go out"
or its Greek equivalent "EMERA" being used by the Jewish writers of the NT, is also found
IN A FIGURATIVE SENSE:
YOM = a certain known period
Isaiah 2:11-12 "The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day [YOM=time of judgement] . The Lord Almighty has a day [YOM=time of judgement] in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled) "
This "day of the Lord" is the Great Tribulation, a seven years period of time when God's judgement will be poured on the ungodly ones.
Numbers 3:1 "This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses at the time [YOM=40 days] the Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai"
NIV has correctly translated "YOM" as "time" because Moses didn't receive God's word in 24 hours but in forty days.
YOM = a certain unknown period, but longer than 24 hours
Ps 90:4 "A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night"
A thousand years (or "an eternity" in a figurative sense) is equal to "one day" of eternity, where God abides.
2 Peter 3:8 "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day"
The apostle Peter cites Psalms 90:4 and takes this example literally, meaning that one "day" of God is like a thousand years to us.
Ps 78:42 "They did not remember his power - the day [YOM=those times] he redeemed them from the oppressor"
This "day" he redeemed them begins when Moses came before Pharao to say, "let my people go" until they crossed the Red Sea.
Ezekiel 36:33 "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day [YOM=those times] I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt"
This day is a whole period of time in which people come back and rebuild the ruins in their cities.
YOM = time formula
Gn 32:32 "Therefore to this day [AD HAYOM HAZÉ=until now] the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon"
Gn 35:3 "Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress [BAYOM ZARATÍ=by that time when I was distressed; it doesn't matter if it is some seconds or some years] and who has been with me wherever I have gone"
Ps 27:5 "For in the day of trouble [BEYOM RAÁ=when I am in trouble, not necessarily 12 or 24 hours] he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock"
Ps 41:1 "Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble" [BEYOM RAÁ=literally "in the day of trouble", but good rendering in NIV]
Ecclesiastes 7:14 "When times are good [BEYOM TOVÁ=lit. "in the day of good"], be happy; but when times are bad [BEYOM RAÁ=lit. "in the day of bad"] , consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future"
"Good" or "bad" is a condition that not necessarily lasts for 12 or 24 hours.
Isaiah 34:8 "For the Lord has a day [YOM=times] of vengeance, a year [SHENAT=times] of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause"
Both words "year" and "day" are used in a figurative sense, meaning "times of" (vengeance, retribution)
Daniel 9:7 "Lord, you are righteous, but this day [KAYOM HAZÉ=lit. "as today", meaning "as by these times"] we are covered with shame - the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you
The situation Daniel alludes to is not only current the day when the prophet was praying. It lasted many years under the Babylonian captivity.
John 9:4 "As long as it is day [EMERA=span of life] , we must do the works of him who sent me. Night [NUX=death, time in the Sheol] is coming, when no one can work"
2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever [EMERAN AIONOS=lit. "day of eternity"] ! Amen"
"Forever" is a good rendering. Because this "day" is eternity itself.
We have seen some examples - ther are more - of the use of the word YOM (day) in Biblical Hebrew. They are evidence of course of the poetical riches of the Hebrew language and thought. But they are even more. The figurative, poetical meaning, when it is evident, is the only one which can lead us to understand a prophecy in the proper way. Observe these ones:
THE "DAY OF RESTORATION"
Amos 9:11 "In that day [BAYOM HAZÉ=by that time] I will restore David’s fallen shelter - I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins - and will rebuild it as it used to be"
"That day" is a period or restoration, but certainly not 24 hours.
THE "DAY OF THE LORD"
Joel 2:31 "The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day [YOM=times of judgement] of the Lord"
These judgements will come under the Great Tribulation, after many catastrophes we read about in the book of Revelation and when all Israel is being filled with the Spirit of God. This doesn't take place in 12 or 24 hours. The same thing happens with this "day" in Zechariah 14:
verse 1 "A day of the Lord [YOM LA YAHWE=times of judgement] is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls"
verses 6-7 "On that day [YOM=times] there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day [YOM=times] - a day [YOM=times] known only to the Lord - with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes [LEET ÉREV=when that time is ending] , there will be light"
The use of YOM as "times" or "period of time" in this example implies that the division of the day (established in the phrase "when evening comes") is a figurative way to say "at the end of the times". This interpretation applies perfectly to the expressions of Genesis 1, "and there was evening, and there was morning..." meaning "and those times had a beginning, and an end". This expression is not found in the seventh day, for a reason: that "day" is still running, it has no end.
THE "LAST DAY"
John 6:39-40 "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day [EN TE ESKHATE EMERA=in the last times] . For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day [EN TE ESKHATE EMERA=in the last times] "
This "last day" includes different resurrection events which are separated by many years.
THE "DAY" OF BABYLONIA'S JUDGEMENT
Revelation 18:8 "Therefore in one day [EN MÍA EMERA=once and for all in mankind's history] her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her"
The fall of Babylonia in Revelation takes place in a period of time (3 1/2 years, as we shall see with God's help) but prophetically it is said "in one day". This expression has a deep prophetical meaning, because this "Babylonia" has fallen several times and come to life again, but in the times of the prophecy of the book of Revelation, it will be defeated forever (the Lord Jesus Christ comes and the kingdom of God is established on earth) "In one day" = "once and for all"
THE USE OF YOM IN GENESIS 1, 2
The story of creation in these two chapters of the Bible is a prophetical one, so we can expect to deal with figurative language. But even more, some features in the passages imply that the "days" are not literal ones:
Genesis 2:4 "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when [BEYOM=by that time] the Lord God made the earth and the heavens"
"When" is a good rendering in NIV, because in the word "day" is included everything that God created in six "days". The "heavens and the earth" in this chapter have already light and darkness, sea and earth, vegetation and fauna. They are not at all those of Genesis 1:1 with a "formless and empty" earth and "darkness over the surface of the deep". God didn't create human beings to put them in such a world.
Genesis 5:2 "He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them 'Adam' when [YOM=period of time between Adam and Eve's creation] they were created"
This "day" - YOM, "when" in NIV - when they were created is the sixth day of creation. Observe the following verses:
Gn 1:27 "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them"
Gn 1:31 "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day"
Could it be taken as a literal day? In this "sixth day" Adam named all animals of earth - brougth by God before him - he has to learn how to take care of a garden and fall into a deep sleep so that God should form Eve - the same day. And in the sixth day, God planted a garden, and "made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground - trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil", and He commanded Adam not to eat from this last one.
It has been said that an Almighty God can do all of this in 24 hours, and it is beyond doubt. But the question is, why should God do that? Was a God who abides on eternity in such a kind of hurry, to be compelled to do so many things in 24 hours? Why should God make trees grow out of the ground in 24 hours? Why the rush?
This world which God created functions because He determined laws for it to work properly, the so called "physical laws". This is what Genesis 8:22 teaches us:
"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease"
This and other verses show that it is God who determined the ways by which the world works. And some times "miracles" happen. A "miracle" is the name we give to events which can not be explained by physical laws. When it happens, it is a SIGN for us humans, especially for sinners, to show God's existence and God's power. God determined physical laws, but He Himself is above them.
Now Adam was living in contact with God. He didn't sin until that day he fell. God didn't have to show Him miraculous signs and wonders in order that he should believe in God's power, or repent from his sins. God is not an illusionist as those you can see in circuses or TV, and God's miracles are not to amuse people, as Our Lord showed king Herod. Besides, we should need not only an Almighty God, but an almighty Adam to do all of this in 24 hours.
Let us move to other issue. We read in Genesis 2:5, "no shrub had yet appeared on the land and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the land". In a creation that takes place in six literal days, it has no sense. You don't say, "there is no vegetation here, because it hasn't rained... in five days". In Sahara you can find huge territories without vegetation because it doesn't rain there. But it hasn't rained there during thousands of years, not in five days. In Sweden, in the Stockholm area where I live, practically everything is covered by vegetation, both meadows and woods. But we can certainly have more than five days without rain. The existence or lack of vegetation depends on a average annual rainfall - high or almost zero - and other conditions, but not in a week's rain.
Now, each "day" of creation tells us an event - or several events - which outcome we can see nowadays: we have a planet with sun light, vegetation, many species of animals and the descendants of Adam and Eve subduing everything. Each event has left EVIDENCE (fossil, geological, etc.) that scientists study, and this research - when it is "scientific", I mean, supported by real evidence - shows us how things happened. The processes of creation lasted millions of years, not only six literal "days".
We have seen that it is impossible to understand the sixth "day" as a literal one - 12 or 24 hours. Let's see what happened:
On the sixth day, according to the Word of God, He created "wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground - reptiles - according to their kinds". Besides, God created Adam and Eve. These reptiles we know and which were created this "day" exist on earth since 199 Mya (Mya means millions of years ago) This day appeared also mammals (167 Mya) and birds (150 Mya; observe Gn 2:19) The first human fossils are by far younger; some scientists estimate them to be 60 000 years old, others, 195 000 years old.
It is very important to note that these numbers are "estimated" ones. As any "circa" value, there is a "+ / -" many years.
"So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind"
The interpretation of this "fifth day" could be a stumblig block to harmonize the Word with that creation which we know from the fossil record. Sometimes the "great creatures" are rendered as "whales", creating confussion - if the whales are mammals, how could they, and birds, be created before dinosaurs, which are "reptiles" and were created on the sixth day?
But this verse is not talking about whales - not necessarily - or "birds" in the way we know them. "Bird" in the Bible is not the same thing that it is in our encyclopedias. It means "flying animal" (for instance, the bat is called "bird" in Leviticus 11:19) Besides, Gn 1:20 shows some "birds" that came from the waters, and Gn 2:19 another "birds" that came from the earth. This apparent discrepance is not a such one if we realize that there are two different kinds of "bird" created.
In the fifth day, the text is probably talkíng about flying animals from the "dinosaurs era". There where many species - all of them extinct nowadays. The sixth day should include reptiles, mammals and birds as we see them now. The "TANINIM" (plural of "TANIM") are some kind great animals living in the sea, but they could be terrestrial also. This word in modern Hebrew means "crocodile" and in STRONG'S concordance of the Holy Bible is defined as "a marine or land monster, i.e. sea-serpent or jackal. Dragon, sea monster, serpent, whale". Some scholars have put dinosaurs in this category. If we translate "flying creatures" and "big marine or land creatures", it would correspond exactly with the testimony of the fossil record: dinosaurs (228-65 Mya) plesiosaurs (220-65 Mya) ichthyosaurus (245-90 Mya) and pterosaurs (220-65 Mya) All these "something-saurs" were reptiles - but very different from modern reptiles - and they were adapted to live on earth, in the sea or to fly. Fishes were created on that day too (from 518 Mya, in the Cambrian period, the first one of the Paleozoic era) They where among the "living creatures that the waters teem with".
That's a fact which the fossil record shows us: in a very short period(comparatively) most of the living creatures came to life in the Cambrian period. This period has been estimated in 2 million years, but we call it "short" when we understand that it is less than the 1% of the time that "evoution" needs to occur. This fact confirms what Genesis tells us about the fifth day. The verb "teem" in Gn 1:20 is SHARÁTS, which means "teem, abound, pullulate". In the Cambrian period, the waters obeyed God very literally: for the first time, they "teemed" with living multicellular creatures.
This day something happened, that we couldn't explain by understanding creation in a literal way. The sun appeared - the one which makes "days" possible. How was there light on earth from the first day, if the sun was "created" the fourth day? And how did vegetation existed on earth from the third day, if there was no sun?
But... don't be afraid! You don't "have" to believe in literal days. Even more, literal days are wrong. Let me show you how the sun existed from the first day, but appeared on the fourth.
The Bible says that when the Lord created heavens and earth, "the earth was formless and empty" and "darkness was over the surface of the deep". When the earth was empty, without vegetation or animals, when there were no continents but only a sea which covered the whole earth, when everything was in darkness, the sun existed already. But there was so much debris and cosmic dust that the sunlight couldn't reach the surface of the earth. This happens sometimes with rainy clouds or volcanic ashes.
We can read about a change in the second day, which cleansed the atmosphere enough to permit some kind of vegetation. But the sun wasn't visible yet. It was in the fourth day when the atmosphere became clean and transparent.
In Genesis 1:16 we read that God "made" the two great lights. "Made" in this verse is "ASÁ" from the Hebrew, and it is not exactly the best rendering that of NIV, "made". ASÁ means "to make" but it has plenty of different meanings. When you say in English, "let's make the bed", you're not meaning that you're going to construct a bed. You mean, lets put in order the bed. In Hebrew we see something similar. ASÁ is found in 2 Samuel 19:24, where Mephibosheth should meet king David and he "...had not taken care of his feet or trimmed his mustache..." In the original Hebrew the verb is ASÁ. But you wouldn't render that Mephibosheth "had not make his feet or make his mustache". "Take care" or "trim" are ways of "put something in order" - one of ASÁ's meanings.
God didn't "make" the great lights or the stars the fourth day. He "made them visible" from the surface of the earth - by cleansing the atmosphere - and sunlight reached the earth as we see when the time is clear. It was necessary for the forms of life that should be created later. It is crucial to understand the event as seen from earth. From this perspective, the celestial bodies "appeared" when the atmosphere was transparent enough. The passage could be rendered "and God appointed both great lights... and made them visible in the firmament of heaven". This rendering should be conforming to the event which occurred on the fourth day (for a terrestrial observer, describing the whole thing "phenomenologically" - as we can see it - not "noumelogically" - as it is)
This day appeared dry land for the first time. It's been demonstrated that in the beginning, the sea covered the whole earth, and that through tectonic movement, that part of earth which we call "land" was risen over the sea level. It was necessary for the vegetation which would appear this day.
We don't have to understand ALL kinds of vegetation appearing on those remote times. As tectonic activity continues in our times - that's why there are earthquakes and tsunamis - the Lord created plants and trees in the following days, and "fifht day animals" in the sixth day. This "days" were overlapping each other - another reason that they are not literal.
The "sky" in this day is different that the "heavens" in the first day (even when Hebrew uses "SHAMÁYIM" for both) The heavens in 1:1 were the firmamament or space; the sky is the atmosphere. The creation of the sky means that the atmosphere became a little bit different, so that some light should reach the surface of earth for that vegetation that appeared the third day. But the total transparency we enjoy now came the fourth day. The "water above the vault" were the clouds.
Observe that if we talk about "day and night", then the sun existed already and the earth was rotating and showing the surface to its light or not. Of course, the atmosphere was so dirty that the sun, the moon and the stars were not visible from earth; that's why "darkness was over the surface of the deep".
Next time you meet someone who says, "I believe in the Big-Bang", you can answer, "me too; God spoke and BANG! there was an universe".
Two special objections to the interpretation of "day=age" are the following ones:
1) According to the genealogies in the Bible, isn't it true that ADAM and Eve lived 6000 years ago?
2) Doesn't the Bible teach that in Eden nobody died - not Adam, Eve or the animals?
If the Lord allows, we'll talk about both issues in the next message, how to use genealogies and "death before Adam".