- The Hebrew creation account uses five times as many verbs for continuing action as for completed action. A translation that accurately renders the imperfect and participle verbs results in a creation without “age of the universe” difficulties. For example, what did God see as He looked on Earth at the end of the first three creation days. Job 38:8-9. "Who continued to close (Hebrew sakak - to entwine - to cover over) the sea behind doors (Hebrew deleth - something swinging - a gate - a lid) when it was gushing and continuing to emerge from the womb. When I was making the clouds its garment and dense clouds its swaddling band." On day two, a spreading (raqiya) atmosphere (thick clouds) continued to separate the waters above from waters below the atmosphere. Apparently the waters above the atmosphere were in the form of ice (see Proverbs 8:27-28). By the middle of day three, the formerly singular sea had become multiple seas - yamin- closed off by a lid as they gathered into one place. The surface sea percolated underground into the tehom, which is when the land continued to appear. Later that day, God continued to command the ground to sprout plants some of which grew into trees that produced fruit and reproduced themselves in a single afternoon.
Imperfect verbs and participles show actions that are incomplete and continuing. They could be rendered in English with words like continued, proceeded, kept on. For example, on day four God kept on forming the Sun, Moon and stars and continued to place them in the spreading place (raqiya). The evidence for day four is overwhelming, since we can see with telescopes the creation era. We observe tiny naked (formless) galaxies as globs packed with stars continue to emerge and spread out (by comparing galaxies at many ranges). Imperfect verbs show no completion. Indeed, we observe that billions of galaxies continued to grow from tiny globs into huge, growth spirals as the stars continued to form and continued to be placed in their spreading places, as in the literal account.
Why don’t our translators mention the continuing processes as God continues to command inanimate substance to act? Modern Bibles follow the traditional creation account from the Latin Vulgate. The Vulgate renders God’s commands for day five with dixit, his creation of the sea creatures with creavitque and his blessing with benedixitque. These are Latin perfect verbs as though God speaks, creates and blesses with one-time, completed commands. The Hebrew only uses one perfect verb on day five. Even that verb does not support an instant creation of animal life.
Genesis 1:20 - 23. And Elohim continued to say, let the waters continue to bring forth creatures that continue to move and fliers that continue to fly over the earth on the face of the spreading place (raqiya) atmosphere. And God continued to create great tanniyn and every creature that moves in unbroken continuity that the waters brought forth (multiplied - completed action) after their kind and every winged bird after its kind. Elohim continued to see that it was good. Elohim continued to bless them, be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas and let birds continue to multiply on the earth. Evening and morning - day five.
This is not abiogenesis: organisms spontaneous forming from lifeless matter. Lifeless water continues to produce creatures that continue to move and reproduce themselves, at God’s continuing commands. We find only one perfect verb for day five. The waters swarmed (multiplied) with moving creatures. Multiplying is not a word for a finished action, it is a word for continual reproduction until the waters and the air were filled with creatures that reproduced after their kinds. Most animals that swim or fly lay eggs that, after maturing, reproduce the next generation. All of these creatures, that the waters produced, multiplied until the subterranean seas and the spreading out (raqiya) atmosphere were swarming with moving creatures. How long did this reproduction last? It began on a single day, day five. Imperfect verbs do not inform us of when or if the action ended. In fact, creatures are still reproducing after their kinds to this very day. They are simply obeying the Divine imperatives to be fruitful, to multiply and to fill the earth by continued multiplication.
Western people usually do not understand the epistemic system in use when Moses wrote the creation account. They were trained to only think with western assumptions. In Moses’ day, people looked back on the early generations who, they believed, lived for eons. They believed that everything had been degenerating, including the duration of days and years (see Genesis 47:9). Indeed, Job who lived in the dinosaur age, described the various geological markers that passed in few days, during his lifetime. He used the dried sea (Hebrew west) as one of the markers for the duration of life. Indeed, the drill cores show that the Mediterranean dried eight times leaving layers of salt and gypsum sandwiched between deep sea oozes. Job also said their faces doubled (changed) before they died. The bones of our skull are the only part of our skeleton that keeps growing as we age. If we lived for geological ages, our faces would grow Neanderthal, but our grandchildren would have faces more like moderns, which is what the fossils reveal.
The Bible consistently calls the Old Testament era: olam, the eons. The gospel was hidden for long ages (Romans 16:25). The Scriptures were written for us, upon whom the close of a series of eons has come (1 Corinthians 10:11). Jesus came at the end of the eons (Hebrews 9:26). Peter said the plural heavens came out ek-palai - long ago (2 Peter 3:5). In our era, our time is short [kairos sustello] of limited duration that is contracted, drawn together and abridged (1 Corinthians 7:29). If you do not understand what causes days and years to continually accelerate as orbits spiral out, consider the issue of gravity aberration.
The picture from wikipedia shows the wingspan of giant pterosaurs. Their wingspan was a large as that of a modern fighter jet. Scientists cannot understand how such huge creatures could fly because they reason with a creed, that matter and orbits are NOT continually changing, changing together, relationally. The drawing is from Matt Martyniuk, Mark Witton and Darren Naish and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.