Suppose Moses wanted to rewrite the first chapter of the Book of Genesis today. If we assume that the divine inspiration wanted to rewrite the first chapter of the Book of Genesis today, after the publicity and widespread theory of evolution, would he change the expressions and words that he used previously? If the answer was yes, this would get us into tremendous theological problems, to mention just a few:the Bible would not be suitable for all ages and it would be liable for change and adjustment according to the knowledge of the age. Moreover, this would imply that God Himself would appear to be changing. As Saint Paul says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8, and the Lord says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35.
However, if the answer was no, then the divine inspiration would write what he wrote thousands of years ago with the same expressions and words. Hence, we cannot but accept that the word “yome”, that is “day” in Hebrew, was mentioned in the days of creation to mean a literal day.
Historicity of the Book of Genesis and Literality of the Torah
Those who proclaim the symbolic interpretation for the six days of creation; ignore or do not take in to consideration that the five Books of Moses were written all with literal context. If we put aside the first chapter of the Book of Genesis and read on, we find that
- The story of the creation of Adam and Eve is true and not symbolic.
- The disobedience and expulsion from paradise is a true story and not symbolic.
- The descendants of Adam and the killing of Abel from the hands of Cain is a true story and not symbolic.
- The genealogy in chapter 5 and 10 is true genealogy and not symbolic.
- The story of Noah and the flood is a true story and not symbolic.
- The tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues is a true story and not symbolic.
- The stories of the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the 12 tribes are true stories and not symbolic.
- The story of Melchizedek and the king of Salim is a true story and not symbolic.
- The story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a true story and not symbolic.
The Book of Exodus is no different, as we find in it
- The persecution of the Jews by the hands of the Egyptians were true persecutions and not symbolic.
- The killing of the male Hebrew babies, the delivery of Moses and his upbringing in the palace of pharaoh are also true stories and not symbolic.
- The appearance of God to Moses in the Burning bush is a true story and not symbolic.
- The 10 plagues, the Passover and the exodus of the Israelites are true stories and not symbolic.
- The parting of the red sea at the raising of the staff of Moses and the crossing of the Israelites to Sinai are true stories and not symbolic.
- Wandering of the Israelites in Sinai for 40 years, while God sustained them with manna and quails and guided them with the pillar of clouds during daytime and the pillar of fire at night are all true stories and not symbolic.
- The receiving of the 10 commandments and laws by Moses were all true and literal facts and not symbolic.
- God’s instructions to Moses regarding the tabernacle and all its details and contents are all true and literal facts and not symbolic.
- God’s instructions to Moses regarding priesthood and their vestment were literal instructions and not symbolic.
- The story of the Golden Calf is a true story and not symbolic.
In the last three Books of the Torah, we find that all laws and rituals that God commanded to Moses had to be executed and practiced in a very literal way, and not symbolic in any form. These three books also include the following:
- The death of the two sons of Aaron is a true story and not symbolic.
- All the wars that the Israelites went through were true wars and not symbolic.
- The death of Mariam, Aaron and Moses were real deaths and not symbolic.
- Joshua taking over the leadership is true history and not symbolic.
We can also include with the Torah: the Book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel 1 and 2, Kings 1 and 2, Chronicles 1 and 2, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester and Judith. All of these are historical books; all describe real events that really did happen.
Serious Questions and Observations
If the entire Book of Genesis was always perceived as a historical book, why would we exempt the first chapter of it and try to symbolize it?
If the writing style of Moses the Prophet is narrative when he described certain events, and is literal style when he explained all the commandments, laws and rituals that he received from God, why would he use a symbolic style on the very first chapter of his writings?
When Moses wrote poems and spoke in a symbolic way, he did not include them in the five Books of the Torah except for the song of victory in Exodus 15. He wrote his poems in separate books, like the book of Job and certain prayers, where the Jewish scholars at later stages grouped some of them with the psalms. One psalm is authored by Moses that is, psalm 90.
Strangely enough, this psalm is the one that created the argument over the length of the day of creation. In which, Moses the Prophet says “For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night.” 90:4.
All the books of the Torah are chronological and literal books explaining real events, practices and laws. They are written in a way that people would understand the events in a historical manner without jumbling them and would exercise the rituals in a rigorous way. It is unmethodical to assume that out of all the stories and events, Moses would write the creation story in a symbolic manner, contradicting his style. When Moses wanted to write poems, he did not include them in the Torah books. Traditionally, the first five books plus all the following books in the Old Testament until the Book of Judith were always considered literal and historical books.
Therefore, when Moses writes the ‘Creation Story’ he means what he writes, literally.