as we approach the study of the 1st 2 verses of Genesis chapter 1… remember that we are not given a fully detailed account or philosophy of creation and yet we claim that the account which we are given is fully accurate. Scripture clearly teaches that God created the universe out of nothing. He spoke it into existence by His Word.
Hebrews 11:3 says “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3, emphasis added).
A. When: In the beginning (v.1a).
1. The universe had a beginning.
a) There was a time when the world did not exist.
(1) There was a time when the world did not exist, and then all of a sudden—out of nowhere and out of nothing—the world began.
(2) There was a time when there was nothing, no heavens and no earth, no physical matter and no physical energy, no atoms, electrons, protons, or neutrons and no hydrogen nor any other gaseous substance.
(3) The book of Hebrews writes of the superiority of Christ and in (Heb.1:10) we read of the superiority of Christ to angels because of His existence:
Speaking about the heavens and the earth, Hebrews says "And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; " (Hebrews 1:10, NASB95)
(a) In this quotation from Psalm 102 the Holy Spirit reveals that Christ is better than angels because He exists eternally.
(b) If Jesus was in the beginning to create, He must have existed before the beginning and therefore be without beginning. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1).
2. Nothing is said about how long ago the earth was created.
a) Man must heed this passage.
(1) Because of this, man must heed this passage of Scripture. We need to know where we have come from and why we are here. Jesus knew these things about Himself (John 13:1-4).
(a) Since we (man) had a beginning, we also have an end! We must prepare to face the one who gave us this beginning. We must repent and “prepare to meet our God” (Amos 4:12):
Solomon says to "Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them" (Ecclesiastes 12:1, NASB95)
This is why is important to "Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; " (Acts 3:19, NASB95)
God is patient "Having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent" (Acts 17:30, NASB95)
(2) Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end of all things. It is to Him that man must repent and turn to:
John 1 say that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." (John 1:1-2, NASB95)
In his 1st epistle he says "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life " (1 John 1:1)
In Revelation 1:8 Jesus says "I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8, NASB95)
And lastly John says "Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost." (Revelation 21:6)
B. Who created: God (v.1b).
1. How do we know God exists?
a) All people have an inner sense of God.
(1) Paul makes it clear in the book of Romans about this inner sense:
(a) Paul says that even Gentile unbelievers “knew God” but did not honor him as God or give thanks to him (Rom. 1:21).
(b) He says that wicked unbelievers have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (Rom. 1:25), implying that they actively or willfully rejected some truth about God’s existence and character that they knew.
(c) Paul says that “what can be known about God is plain to them,” and adds that this is “because God has shown it to them” (Rom. 1:19).
(2) Yet Scripture also recognizes that some people deny this inner sense of God and even deny that God exists.
(a) It is “the fool” who says in his heart, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1).
(b) It is the wicked person who first “curses and renounces the Lord” and then in pride repeatedly thinks “there is no God” (Ps. 10:3–4).
(c) These passages indicate both that sin leads people to think irrationally and to deny God’s existence, and that it is someone who is thinking irrationally or who has been deceived who will say, “There is no God.”
(3) Paul also recognizes that sin will cause people to deny their knowledge of God:
(a) He speaks of those who “by their wickedness suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18) and says that those who do this are “without excuse” for this denial of God (Rom. 1:20).
(b) A series of active verbs indicates that this is a willful suppression of the truth (Rom. 1:23, 25, 28, 32).
(4) In the life of the Christian this inner awareness becomes stronger.
(a) we begin to know God as our loving Father in heaven (Rom. 8:15).
(b) the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16), and we come to know Jesus Christ living within our hearts (Eph. 3:17; Phil. 3:8, 10; Col. 1:27; John 14:23).
(c) the intensity of this awareness for a Christian is such that though we have not seen our Lord Jesus Christ, we indeed love him (1 Peter 1:8).
b) Believing the evidence found in Scripture.
(1) The evidence that God exists is found all throughout the Bible. In fact, the Bible assumes that God exists.
(2) The first verse of Genesis does not present evidence for the existence of God but tells us what he has done: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
(3) The world also gives abundant evidence of God’s existence (Romans 1:20).
(4) In addition to the evidence seen in the existence of living human beings, there is further excellent evidence in nature.
(a) The “rains and fruitful seasons” as well as the “food and gladness” that all people experience and benefit from are also said by Barnabas and Paul to be witnesses to God (Acts 14:15-17).
(b) David tells us of the witness of the heavens: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge” (Ps. 19:1–2).
(5) If God did not intervene in our lives we would not be able to know Him.
(a) 2 Corinthians 4:4 – god of this world has blinded our minds.
(b) 1 Corinthians 1:21 – mans wisdom will not get him to God.
(c) 1 Corinthians 2:5 – knowledge of God is through the power of God.
C. What: Heavens and earth (v.1c).
1. God created “the heavens and earth…” (v.1c).
a) The universe.
(1) The earth is only 8,000 miles in diameter and only 25,000 miles in circumference. The earth measures less than one grain of sand on all the seashores of the earth in comparison to the universe.
(2) Our earth is within a solar system, a system of nine other planets that revolve around the sun (ten planets counting the earth). The largest planet of our solar system is Jupiter. It is so large that it is 1300 times the size of earth.
(3) Our sun is so large that it is about 864,000 miles in diameter. The sun could hold 1,300,000 earths. And, if we could just imagine the distance, the sun is 93,000,000 miles away from the earth. But this is only the beginning.
(4) Our solar system is only one solar system of millions that make up what science calls a galaxy. There are millions and millions of solar systems that are just like our nine planets revolving around the sun—millions and millions of solar systems that make up our galaxy. And our galaxy has billions and billions of stars scattered all throughout the heavens, over 200 billion. Such facts stagger our imagination. Just think of this: there is one star so big, a star called Betelguese, that it is 215 million miles in diameter. How big is that? The sun could sit in the star’s center and the earth could revolve around the sun in its present orbit without ever touching the sides of this enormous star. (William W. Orr. How We May Know That God Is. Wheaton, IL: VanKampen Press. No date given, p.29.)
(5) When we stand out at night and look up into the heavens, we see what we call the Milky Way. The Milky Way is the name of our own galaxy, the galaxy of stars of which the earth is a part. When we look up at the Milky Way on a starry night, what we see is the reflected light of billions and billions of stars being reflected across the night sky, billions and billions of stars that are a part of our own galaxy. But imagine this: there are millions of galaxies, untold billions and billions of stars in the far regions of outer space.
(6) But this is not all. Science tells us that the galaxies are moving away from each other at an incredible speed, a speed that exceeds millions of miles per hour. Just imagine! The stars and galaxies of the heavens are moving away from each other, travelling millions and millions of miles every hour. We live in what is called an expanding universe, an ever growing universe. As stated, the heavens, the galaxies of our universe, are expanding more and more—moving farther and farther away from each other, flying away at the incredible speed of millions of miles per hour. Profound, impressive, stunning. When we stand back and gaze up at the stars in heaven and think about the enormity of it all, we stand in stark amazement at the glory of the heavens above. But this is not all.
(7) When we focus in upon the small and minute world of the earth and universe, we stand in stark amazement at the glory of the small and minute world. There is the small world of the busy ant and the minute world of all the other small creatures that fascinate us. But there is much more to the small and minute world than just what is visible to the naked eye. For example, what are the smallest particles of existence? What do things consist of? What is it that makes things exist? What are the basic elements and building blocks of existence and of life itself? Science has discovered a great deal, enough to tell us that the universe and life are made up of atoms and electrons and protons and neutrons and a host of other minute particles—minute particles that are invisible and even today far, far beyond man’s understanding. Man has yet to discover the basic raw element and force of the universe.
D. How was the earth created: In stages (v.2).
1. There is The Unshaped or Undeveloped Earth Position.
a) The earth was created in stages.
(1) Verse one launches the first stage of creation: God created the earth right along with the heavens. He used His supreme power to hang both the earth and the other heavenly bodies in space at the same time.
(2) Verse two simply describes what the earth looked like in the first stage of creation, what it looked like before the seven days of creation took place, before God created light, vegetation, animals, and man.
b) Four points need to be noted about this position.
(1) Without form and void (v.2a).
(a) unshaped and unformed
(b) barren and empty
(c) desolate and destitute
(d) undeveloped and unfinished
(e) unfruitful and unproductive
(2) In darkness (v.2b)
(3) Covered by water (v.2c)
(4) By the Spirit’s activity (v.2d)
(a) The word “move” has the idea of “a vibrant moving, a protective hovering.... This ‘hovering’ was not a single and instantaneous act. It rather describes a continued process.”
(5) Note that the Spirit of God is active in creation as well as God the Father. This is declared throughout Scripture. In fact, Scripture declares that all three persons of the Godhead were actively involved in creation.
(a) God the Father was involved in creation (Gen.1:1).
(b) God the Holy Spirit was involved in creation (Gen.1:2;
(c) God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, was involved in creation (John 1:1-3; Col.1:16; Heb.1:3).
2. God has the power to take a person and make a new creation out of him.
a) A new creation in Christ (2Cor.5:17).
(1) And God has the power to take that new person, that new creation, and move him along stage by stage until he reaches the climactic moment of redemption and perfection—all at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(a) Philippians 1:6; 2Tim.1:12; 1Pet.1:5; Jude 24-25
3. God has the power to take and old earth and create a new one (2Pet.3:10-14).
a) Revelation 21:5; Romans 8:19-22