Reading the Bible literally, we might consider the first chapter of Genesis to be a miraculous tale of the creation of the universe in seven days by a distant tribal deity. Yet Mary Baker Eddy’s writings shed a great deal of light on how to approach this first chapter in the Bible. She asks early in her exegesis on Genesis in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Was not this a revelation instead of a creation?” (504:14). Her statement asks us to read this chapter not as a creation myth, but as something that is revealing the present nature of the universe. Although the first chapter of Genesis appears to be entirely written in the past tense by English Bible translators, the original language it was written in—ancient Hebrew—possesses no past, present, or future tense as we would conceive of them today. Speaking of the seventh day of creation, Mrs. Eddy says, “Human language can repeat only an infinitesimal part of what exists” (S&H 520:5-7). This must always be the case, as language was created to express what the human mind sees, experiences, and feels. How can these words describe the realm of God, Spirit—which eye cannot see and the ear cannot hear? Mrs. Eddy considered this very problem to be one of her most difficult challenges:
“Apart from the usual opposition to everything new, the one great obstacle to the reception of that spirituality, through which the understanding of Mind-science comes, is the inadequacy of material terms for metaphysical statements, and the consequent difficulty of so expressing metaphysical ideas as to make them comprehensible to any reader, who has not personally demonstrated Christian Science as brought forth in my discovery” (S&H 114:32).
Considering this great challenge, we should recognize that the first chapter of Genesis is a spiritual revelation, and as a spiritual revelation, it is trying to reveal something about the spiritual universe through materially-based language.
“The numerals of infinity, called seven days, can never be reckoned according to the calendar of time” Mrs. Eddy continues (S&H 520:10-11). She is saying that when the Bible speaks of “days,” it is using a human term for something that has little to do with the actual human concept of day. The spiritual concept of day is not only outside of time, but is annihilating the human perception of time: “These days will appear as mortality disappears, and they will reveal eternity, newness of Life, in which all sense of error forever disappears and thought accepts the divine infinite calculus” (S&H 520:12). The “days” in the first chapter of Genesis did not happen in the past, they are a present revelation of spiritual reality to our consciousness, and this revelation is removing our mortal sense or a sense of being mortal. So, as we demonstrate and live more of the eternal Life, which is God, these days of creation will continue to reveal more of this Life and our connection to it.