NASA uses the following words to describe the birth of the universe, which they say is made up mostly of mysterious substances they call Dark Energy and Dark Matter:
“When the universe was young, it was nearly smooth and featureless. As it grew older and developed, it became organized.”
That sounds a little like “Earth was shapeless and empty. Darkness cloaked the deep water” (Genesis 1:2), along with all the universe-building that follows in the rest of Genesis 1. Do you think that suggests we should read the Creation story as though it’s reporting accurate history and science?
Most of the top Old Testament scholars say they do not read the Creation story like it belongs in a history book. They read it more like a parable, intended to teach people about God and the importance of taking care of the planet he has entrusted to us. And it teaches us to obey God by doing the right thing when we know what the right thing is to do.
Perhaps most Christians, however, don’t agree with the scholars. Many Christians do seem to believe that whoever wrote the stories of Genesis was reporting history accurately and under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
When the apostle Paul explained to his friend Timothy what he thought about the Bible—which at the time was the Old Testament, including Genesis—he said: “All of scripture is God’s way of talking to us” (2 Timothy 3:16). Word-for-word from the original Greek, the phrase reads: “All scripture God-breathed.” Most Bibles translate the unique Greek word theopneustos [God-breathed] as “inspired.” For more info on this, read the footnote to this verse in Stephen M. Miller’s online Bible paraphrase, Casual English Bible.
Reprinted from the Leader’s Guide & Atlas for Genesis