Understanding biblical creation requires that we come to grips with the western fixation on time. Time had not yet been invented (as a substantive idea) when Moses wrote about creation.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, “time” is the most used noun in the English language. Indo-European languages also use tensed (timing) verbs in almost every sentence. (Tense is an old French word for time). Our concept of time affects not just our grammar, but how we think. Ancient languages used verbs that express aspect instead of tense. Aspect can show duration, but relative to something in the narrative, rather than to time. Tagalog verbs can refer to complete, incomplete, or contemplated actions, but these are not past, present of future tenses. The Hopi language has no words or grammar that refers to time, past, present, future or enduring. The Hopi language contains no reference to time. (Whorf 1956). Biblical Hebrew had few adjectives and adverbs so verbs convey much of the meaning, but they do not reference things to time (tense). Hebrew verbs can show an incomplete aspect (imperfect) showing continuity or repetition, but “when” this happens comes from the context rather than tenses and time notions. Hebrew verbs can also convey a completion aspect (perfect), but this may indicate completion anywhere from the past to the future, depending on the context. Real events happen or will happen and events have sequence. Jews could relate the sequence to events in the perspective of the narrator or in the perspective of something in the narration (such as a yearly cycle), but not to an abstract time. Aspectual grammars were common before people began to imagine that time actually exists. Modern Hebrew has three verb tenses. The notion that time exists has infected modern Jews despite what Solomon said: olam (over the horizon, unseen events) are in our minds (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Time has no existence.
Augustine analyzed the text for the first creation day in Confessions, Book 12. He wondered how could we understand formless, light-less matter, an Earth made of quasi-nothingness. How could formless matter experience time or change? Augustine concluded that we cannot understand creation day one, although he believed the text is true.
Why was the Earth at first a formless, dark abyss? What happened to the Earth when He continued (imperfect verbs) to command light to continue to be? Since the heavens and the earth were created first (perfect verb), why did the Sun, Moon and stars only begin to take form (imperfect verbs) half way through the creation week? Why did God continue (imperfect verbs) to make the Sun, Moon and stars into things that spread out (raqia)? Why didn’t he put them in fixed orbits, instead of spreading orbits?
Experiments show that light dithers around within all atoms. Indeed, when atoms are shattered, the light-like things shower out. No one has discovered a god-particle, something that cannot be reduced to light-like properties. Is it light that gives form to matter? Is that what day one is telling us?
Ephesians 5:13 states that light reveals the truth and exposes error because everything that is visible is light. Paul does not just say we see because of light but we see because what we see is light (phos estin). Indeed, we observe that matter is a relation with light. Telescopes also gather the light from the earliest universe so that we see cosmic history to the creation era. Most galaxies are grouped into clusters that are dense with small galaxies clumped around one or more large ones. The clusters are awash with X-rays, evidence that the galaxies in the cluster are all related and at the same range. Some small galaxies within clusters have gas tails, revealing their motions. In some cases, we see jets coming out of the large galaxies in the cluster with a quasar at the end of the jet. The miniature Magellanic galaxies are also connected to the Milky Way by a river of hydrogen gas, suggesting that they were ejected.
Many early spirals are surrounded by equally spaced blue beads. At closer ranges, we observe how those blue globs accelerated outward, rotated around more and spread out as billions of galaxies grew into huge, local, dusty, growth spirals. The stars grow in volume as their light clocks accelerate and their orbits concurrently accelerate outwards. What we see is relational changes in all matter.
We do not observe accretion (diffuse matter condensing into objects that grow in size from outside sources). Instead we observe ejections from point sources. Even in our own Milky Way, we observe double jets coming out of Herbig Haro stars. The jets form huge clouds of gas (nebulae) as the stars continue to eject matter. Even on our own planet, the continents fit together on a tiny globe and new earth crust continues to form along a global undersea expansion seam. Evidently God continues to command light to continue to be, thus giving form to the originally formless Earth. NASA observes about one gamma ray burst arriving from the early universe per day. These intense bursts of light are often positioned in the areas where the arms are beginning to develop in ancient spirals. Perhaps this is God at work energizing ancient matter with light, thus giving it form.
Scientists have invented the greatest system of mythology in history. They imagine that a tiny bit of vacuum exploded and created everything out of nothing. They speculate that black holes inhabit the core of galaxies, instead of formless matter. The black holes allegedly have so much gravity that light cannot escape. Yet emerging jets do not even bend from gravity. Allegedly there is 20 times as much invisible matter as the visible kind in galaxy clusters. Scientists also claim invisible matter surrounds every galaxy in order to force their laws on a non-cooperating universe. The vacuum of space time is supposed to be stretching itself out, pushing galaxies away as it stretches all light passing through the void. This is necessary because ancient light clocks shine at less than 10% of the frequencies of modern atoms. If only they could just believe the simple Creation account that we confirm with the light from long ago, they would not have to speculate about invisible magic.
One of the reasons scientists cannot accept visible cosmic history is their concept of time. Almost every one of their empirical measuring units and mathematical constants depends on the notion that time exists and is measured by unchanging atoms. Lift up your eyes and look at the heavens. It is there that we see His great glory, how He made more than a trillion galaxies as He continues to command light to continue to be, thus giving form to matter. How great will be the glory of God when He makes foolish those who measure things with their symbolical notion that time actually exists.
Abell 370 is a galaxy cluster whose light shines at 73% of the frequencies of modern atoms. Notice two small galaxies at the end of jets emerging from the one of the giant ellipticals. The spiral galaxy with the long tail is known as the Dragon. A tail of stars and gas has emerged from this galaxy and threaded past four small galaxies. The presence of OII in the tail shows that it is a single object that shines at 57 % of the frequencies of modern atoms. What is visible supports a literal account of creation. He continues to give form to matter as He continues to command light to continue to be. He continues to form the Sun, Moon and stars and to place them in the spreading place.