One morning I felt the inspiration to write a modern version of the Genesis account of creation, incorporating and alluding to the scientific discoveries of recent times. I hope that nobody chooses to take offence:
Before the beginning of time and matter in our universe, there was God. Of his works other than our universe we know nothing, but of his works in this universe we have learned much through the gift of our intellect. Of all his purpose in our universe we can know only what he has chosen to reveal to us, and he has revealed that we were his purpose. One purpose alone or one purpose among many is not for us to know.
God chose to create this universe. He created time, and then he tore nothingness into matter and antimatter, and in that great explosion from nothing he caused there to be an excess of matter over antimatter. And he causes matter to interact with matter through invisible forces acting across nothingness. And ripples of that rending apart of nothing remain until this day for us to observe with wonder.
Since God knows his plans, he chooses to cause matter to behave in a consistent way. He allows the tiniest particles to behave in individually unpredictable ways, but in community he causes them to follow his chosen laws. In the presence of spirit, whether God’s own or that of humans or other spiritual beings, God allows his laws to be suspended. God continues to sustain and guide his creation, acting as and when he chooses and allowing individuals to choose how to act.
And so for billions of years, although years were yet to be invented, the universe unrolled according to the laws that God had chosen. Particles formed into atoms, atoms formed into great stars and stars drew together into galaxies. The first stars grew to such a size that the interaction between the matter and the forces caused great energy and the explosion of the stars, and in those explosions new atoms were formed. God was making the building blocks of life, the carbon and the oxygen atoms. Out of those explosions, and according to God’s laws of interaction new stars formed, and planets were formed around those stars.
One of those planets, the earth, had the right conditions for the next phase in God’s plan. The planet was at first a molten mass, bombarded from space by asteroids and meteors as the turmoil of the formation of the particular sun and galaxy subsided. A crust was formed on the molten mass, and a gaseous atmosphere formed above the crust. In that atmosphere and on the crust, the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms joined to form more complex short molecules. When the time was right, these short molecules formed into long chain molecules. These very special molecules continued to work according to the laws that God had chosen for the atoms and particles. The molecules had different purposes, some formed into cell membranes, some formed into little molecular machines, and some formed into very long instruction chains. And God caused them to be combined into what we today would call cells, and God had given them the mechanism to multiply in number.
To the first cells he gave the task of changing the atmosphere of the earth. Using the energy of the nearest star, the sun, the cells separated oxygen from carbon dioxide and pumped the oxygen into the atmosphere. For more than a billion years the cells carried out their task of preparing the atmosphere of the earth, getting ready for the more complex organisms that were next on his plan.
When conditions were right, the individual cells formed into groups or communities that were dependant on each other, where each cell in the group performed slightly different functions and so the new organism was able to both become larger but also to perform more complex functions. God gave the individual cells the means to evolve a mechanism that would carry the instructions for each cell in the group to perform its function, and to respond to the communications from other cells within the group. And so, multicellular organisms were formed.
The instructions embedded in each of these cells ran to billions of characters in length. The mechanisms of the cell and these instructions were both necessary for the cells to operate and grow, and to reproduce from generation to generation. God didn’t plan to make all organisms identical, so he designed ways and means of bringing variation to the offspring of the organisms. He allowed “random” variations due to inaccurate copying, and he caused deliberate mixing of the instructions in one organism with another, requiring separate organisms to come together in order to create the next generation. The organisms themselves thus had to live in partnership and community to survive.
So God had established a process of growing a wide diversity of organisms of increasing functionality that relied on each other to survive and thrive. Whilst each individual organism would be allowed to behave in an individual way, only those that were successful in progressing God’s plan survived and reproduced. God chose to allow a process of competition to develop the organisms as he wanted; a process which required individual capability and cooperation between individual cells within an organism, and between organisms of the same type. Through this phase of God’s plan he used the law of “survival of the fittest” to perfect each organism, and to select which organisms to perfect. The organisms didn’t know anything of right and wrong.
But that was not the end of God’s purpose, although it took billions of years to accomplish. His plans were greater than that, for there to be beings in his likeness; beings that would design and create, but more than that, beings that would know right from wrong, beings that would love, spiritual beings that would know and seek God himself.
So he selected one of the organisms and he planted his spirit in that organism and gave it an awareness of God himself, and he gave that organism the ability to know what is right and what is wrong, and he gave that organism the ability to choose to do what is right or what is wrong. That organism is mankind, the pinnacle of God’s creation.
You might not be ready to accept this new account. Certainly it is not literally correct, but maybe it is more relevant to today’s society in the same way that the original Genesis was relevant to the society of its day. It conveys that all of us are spiritual and material beings, willed by God as the culmination of a creative process of unimaginable complexity spanning billions of years, following the creation of time itself. Mankind: created with the opportunity to know God and to relate to him, but allowed the alternative of rejecting and ignoring him.