I must be honest; I am running into a few problems here. The first is that I wanted to tell the two versions of the history of the universe (biblical and scientific) in parallel, however the two accounts are so drastically different in the order of what came first, that it now seems impossible I shall however try my best to keep it somewhat readable. The second problem, which is not as big as the first, is that I am leaving my comfort zone of physics and wandering into the unknown waters of biology and geology. However, please join me, as this will be a learning experience for both of us. If I say anything that is wrong, assume the mistake is mine, and I will try to give you as many references as I can.
Now where did we leave off? Ah, yes. Day Three;
“And God said, "Let the water that is beneath the heavens gather into one place, and let the dry land appear," and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas, and God saw that it was good. And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, seed yielding herbs and fruit trees producing fruit according to its kind in which its seed is found, on the earth," and it was so. And the earth gave forth vegetation, seed yielding herbs according to its kind, and trees producing fruit, in which its seed is found, according to its kind, and God saw that it was good. And it was evening, and it was morning, a third day.”
The bible would have you assume that the earth was covered in water when it was first formed and then god miraculously pushed the water aside so that dry land would rise up. How did this work? Did he spilt the sea? We know he is good at this trick. Did he dig a deep hole in the ocean so that the sea levels will go down? Or did he just do it, and “stop asking so many questions about god already”? Anyways we also have the first life mentioned in the bible, plant life. Grass, fruit trees, and vegetation of all sorts arises on our lonely planet earth. According to midrash the trees were commanded to make their bark taste like the fruit, but they disobeyed. Tsk, tsk, tsk, the naughty trees did not listen to god, thus setting the stage for the rest of history.
Notice that this is the first life form mentioned in the bible, there is no mention of the most plentiful and earliest of all life forms, bacterium and viruses. It is also ignorant of the fact that there were many animals before plants and trees appeared on the land. An all-knowing god would know about this, Bronze Age herders would not.
However, let us go back to reality,
We left off last week just as the earth was being formed. So let us begin with the earliest history of our planet. Our early earth did not resemble the comfortable friendly environment we live in today, the early earth was a ball of hot molten rock, and it looked more like hell than paradise. The first layers to cool down were the outermost layers around 4.4 - 4.5 BYA (billion years ago) the oldest detrital zircon crystals that we have today is from that time period. The early earth was hit by many meteors each one heating up the planet. According to the prevalent theory our moon was formed when an object the size of a small planet collided with the early earth, this is known as the giant impact hypothesis. Although we are not sure that this is indeed how the moon formed, we do know that the moon was formed 4.5 BYA. As the outer layers of the earth got cooler and the inside remained hot, the heat from the inside began flowing outward. Mantle convection, the process that causes most of the earthquakes and volcanoes we experience is due to plate tectonics, which in turn is due to the heat from the middle of the earth flowing outward.
We think that the first real life was formed somewhere around 3.9 – 3.5 BYA. How it came about is still unclear, there are many competing hypotheses all of them possible, some of them more likely than others, we just don’t know yet which one actually happened. The most probable of them seems to be the "Primordial soup" theory which has been experimentally been shown to be possible. With all the false starts and different ways which early life had formed, around 3.5 BYA a single line of “protocells” seems to have been the source of all life currently on earth.
Early life was simple and lived in the water; it survived the next few billion years while the earth went through the process of freezing over repeatedly. The last of these freezing phases happened around 600 MYA (million years ago), it was after this that evolution began to take off in earnest. Around 542 MYA was the beginning of what is called the Cambrian explosion. This was one of the most exciting times in the history of our little earth. Life diversified and grew in leaps and bounds. The first animals with shells, the first vertebrates, and the first fish evolved in this phase. This lasted until around 488 MYA, however all this diversity of life was all in the water, nothing on the land yet.
The first life moved onto the land around 2.6 BYA, but these were simple single celled Prokaryote. Multi-cellular life, in the form of fungi and algae didn’t make it to the land until the late Cambrian or the early Ordovician around 500 MYA, the oldest fossils of this kind date back to around 470 MYA. We are not sure when the first creatures left the water, the oldest clear evidence goes back at least 450 MYA, however footprints have been found on land that date back to over 530 MYA indicating that animals may have been on land before plants were.
And God said: 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth' and it was so. And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
Ok, so we have earth, water, oceans, sky, plants, THEN the sun and stars show up? This is impossible, for so many reasons, firstly, there are stars older than our sun, and the sun is older than the earth. Secondly, oxygen, which is an important part of water, cannot exist until after stars have been born and died. EARTH DID NOT EXIST UNTIL AFTER THE SUN WAS FORMED. Now, on one of these points I was not the first person to notice this absurdity,
“Rav Pinchas ben Yair says, why did god command on the third day that grass plants and fruit trees should grow and on the fourth day god created the heavenly lights (sun, moon, and stars)? To show you the power of God’s strength that he can make the earth bloom without the heavenly lights.” (http://hebrewbooks.org/33677 it’s in Hebrew, I couldn’t find an English translation, the translation is mine as well and not perfect. The part I am quoting is on page 16)
In other words in case you were wondering how plants can grow without the sun, don’t. God did it. This is a very important idea if you want to take the bible as truth.
Now the purpose of these lights were not so that we can stay alive, no. thpurpose of the lights were so that we can have days, and seasons, this could not have been written by someone who knew anything about how important the sun is to life, or else it would have mentioned it.
If you noticed it said that god created two great lights, meaning equal, then it refers to one as the greater and one as the lesser. Rashi explains this as follows
They were created equal, but the moon was made smaller because it brought charges and said, “It is impossible for two kings to use the same crown.” - [from Chullin 60b] Rashi (ad loc.) explains that this derash is based on the discrepancy of the two expressions, “the two great luminaries,” which intimates that the moon was a great luminary, and “the lesser luminary,” which intimates that the moon was smaller than the sun. To reconcile this difference, the Rabbis asserted that the moon was originally created equal to the sun, but, because of its complaint that the sun wielded the same power that it wielded, it was forced to relinquish that power.
If anyone knows anything about the sun and the moon, they know that this is impossible. The sun is a great ball of mostly hydrogen and a little helium, the moon is a small little rock made mostly of metallic alloy. These do not resemble each other at all; in addition, their ages are different as well by at least 10 million years. Rashi then goes on to explain the stars with this gem
Because He diminished the moon, He increased its hosts, to appease it. - [from Gen. Rabbah 46:4 and Chullin 60b] i.e., The stars serve as the entourage of the moon. When it comes out, they accompany it, and when it sets, they too set. [Gen. Rabbah ad loc.]
So let us set up the timeline here first, there was the earth then the sun and the moon, then they have this fight, then the stars are created to accompany the moon. This is absurd for so many reasons, not counting the fact that the sun and the moon do not get into “fights.” First of all, the stars have more to do with the sun than the moon, secondly the stars are out during the day too, they do not set with the moon, you just can’t see them because the sun is too bright, finally as we have seen already so many times, the stars must predate the earth.
And God said: 'Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.' And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that creepeth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after its kind, and every winged fowl after its kind; and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.' And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
WTF, sea monsters? As usual, rashi comes to the rescue
The great fish in the sea, and in the words of the Aggadah (B.B. 74b), this refers to the Leviathan and its mate, for He created them male and female, and He slew the female and salted her away for the righteous in the future, for if they would propagate, the world could not exist because of them. הַתַּנִינִם is written. [I.e., the final “yud,” which denotes the plural, is missing, hence the implication that the Leviathan did not remain two, but that its number was reduced to one.]- [from Gen. Rabbah 7:4, Midrash Caseroth V’Yetheroth , Batei Midrashoth, vol 2, p. 225].
So at the creation of the world one giant leviathan was allowed to stay alive, so we should find one giant fish somewhere under the water that has no mate. Hmm, we should send out an expedition to find it. Well at least we know what the sea monster is.
Another interesting tidbit here is the idea that fish, flies, and birds are all lumped together. This is just flat out wrong. Fish are one of the first kinds of creatures on this planet appearing around 510 MYA. It is hard to define “every living creature that creepeth” since that covers way too much, however the first creature that creepeth, or anthropods first crawled onto land 450 MYA and evolved from fish. Birds on the other hands evolved from dinosaurs and first arrived at the end of the Jurassic period within the last 100 million years, after the animals described on day six.
I want to point out again, this is not my area of expertise anyone with Google can find everything I wrote here, it does not take genius to say that the emperor is naked, it takes courage and honesty.