Last Sunday I preached a sermon on the beginning of Genesis to my church. My text was Genesis 1:1-2:4. During that sermon I presented a theological view known as Historic Creationism (cf. John Sailhammer, The Pentateuch as Narrative and Genesis Unbound). This was a novel way of reading the text for a majority of my people. So, here is my quick attempt to explain what I believe about Genesis 1.
What I Believe
I believe that in the beginning God miraculously created the entire universe out of nothing (Gen 1:1). This initial activity resulted in the creation of everything except humanity, whom I believe God created on the 6th day of his weeklong work to make Eden (Gen 1:24-31).
I believe the word beginning refers to a duration of time and not an instant in time, but I do not know how long or short this duration of time was. I do not believe in any form of macro-evolution.
I believe that the phrase formless and void is not a statement about the initial chaotic state of the cosmos. Instead, I believe it is a statement intended to reveal that Eden was a desolate and deserted land that needed to be “made.”
I believe that after creating everything in the universe except for humans, God made Eden (which is probably the same land he later promises and delivers to the seed of Abraham) in 6 literal 24-hour days which were followed by a seventh day of rest (Gen 1:2-2:3).
There is much more that I could say, but these are the highlights. Let me be abundantly clear that not all of these statements are closed-handed beliefs (i.e. beliefs that require agreement). I think that Christians need to agree on the fact that God made the world out of nothing. I don’t think we necessarily need to agree on the details about how he did this work.