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Genesis 1

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Genesis 1:1… In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Commentary

The first words in the Bible are familiar to most people whether they’re church goers or not. These first four words, the first words ever written, do not attempt to prove God’s existence, but they do assume it without question. It is only the fool who says there is no God (Psalm 14:1). What a person does with these words in Genesis 1:1 will determine to a large extent what they do with the rest of the words of scripture. If a person does believe these words he won’t find anything written in the scriptures that can shake his faith in the Creator God. If God created all things, then he controls all things. Dr. H.M. Morris says, “The passage refutes atheism b/c God created. It refutes pantheism b/c God is transcendent over His creation. It refutes polytheism b/c one God created all. It refutes materialism b/c all matter had a beginning. It refutes dualism b/c God was alone when He created. It refutes humanism b/c God, not man, is the ultimate reality. It refutes evolutionism b/c God created all things.” All of these “ism’s” are nothing more than man’s feeble attempt to discredit God. They all reflect unbelief. The creation account in Genesis does not attempt to defend God’s existence because at the time there was nothing to defend. In other words, there was no pagan system at that time promoting any other “god.”

The passage answers the questions man has asked for millennia, namely, who, what, & when? Who? God. What? the heavens and the earth. When? in the beginning. Exactly when that beginning was is a lively debate among scholars today. In contrast to all ancient accounts of creation and modern philosophies, which begin with preexisting matter in some form, the biblical account of creation begins with nothing, only God. The Genesis creation is unique in all of literature b/c it begins with God alone creating. When did He create? Genesis 1, 5, 11, & 12 give chronological data from the time of the creation of the universe to Abraham, who was born in 2166 BC. The historical books of the OT give chronological data from Abraham to 100 years after the time the Jews were released from Babylonian captivity (up to 425 BC), and the intertestamental period lasted about 400 years up to the time of Christ. Using this data, the creation account of Genesis 1:1ff dates to  somewhere around 4000 BC (see also, Luther, Ussher, Kepler, & Galileo). There are very likely some minor gaps in these chronologies, but as Morris has said, “It would seem impossible to insert gaps totaling more than about 5,000 years in these chapters without rendering the record irrelevant and absurd.” The Bible simply will not support a date for creation prior to 10,000 BC. That brings our planet to no more than 12,000 years old.

Though modern science will insist that man has his origins somewhere around 2,000,000 years ago, this contradicts the Bible and common sense as well. A case in point is the human population. Currently, the annual population growth rate is 2%. If man began 2 million years ago and increased at 1/10 of the present rate there would be 5 quintillion people on the earth (2.5 billion more than the present population!). Even if each two people produced, on the average, 2.6 children in their lifetime, the earth’s population would double each year. If we began that process in 4000 BC, the earth’s present population would come just short of 10 trillion! (currently it’s 6 billion). Man simply couldn’t have originated 2,000,000 years ago. Judging by population standards and common sense, man is a recent creation of God just like Genesis tells us.

The Bible has never changed, yet science changes regularly. It contains truth that science has never disproved, try as it might. No matter what you read in the newspapers about a recent creation, it continues to stand up to its detractors and reflects sound biblical exegesis.

Pray to the God of the universe today, and give Him the glory He created you to give to Him.

Genesis 1:1… In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Commentary

“In the beginning” comes from one Hebrew word that means “first of time.” Though this phrase speaks of the origin of the universe and the earth, it does not speak of God’s beginning. John 1:1 speaks of the fact that Jesus Christ (the “Word”) has always been and was in the beginning with God, and this passage predates Genesis 1:1 in speaking of “the beginning.” Proverbs 8:22ff is wisdom personified speaking of a time long before God created the universe. The beginning that Genesis speaks of speaks specifically of God’s creation of heavens and earth.

In the beginning “God.” The Hebrew word for “God” here is Elohima designation stressing His majesty and omniscience. The “im” ending on Elohim is a Hebrew plural, and this word is a word used many times in scripture for pagan “gods.” In this passage Elohim is used throughout to refer to the One singular God. The verb that follows is singular, and it signifies that the subject (God) is also to be taken singularly. The plurality of Elohim here doesn’t teach the Trinity, but it allows for it. It is a “uni-plural” noun, and it hints at the uni-plurality of the God-head. God is one, yet He exists as three separate but equal persons. He isn’t a lonely God in need of man’s fellowship. There is perfect love, fellowship, and holiness with the members of the Godhead. Love originated with Him, not with His love towards man or vice versa.

The verb “created” is a verb used in scripture always referring to God’s work, not man’s. Only God can create, which is to call things into existence that once didn’t exist. Man can fashion what God has made and call it a creation, but only God can create ex nihilo – out of nothing. Even Romans 4:17 says that God calls things into being that do not exist. Genesis 1:1 answers the question of why there is something instead of nothing. God called it into existence.

The “heavens” is also a Hebrew plural word that sometimes, like Elohim, is translated as a singular depending on the context. It basically refers to space and time in the present passage.

The “earth” simply refers to the component of matter – the planet, the erets (land and ground) in which we live. During God’s initial creation none of the other planets existed until the fourth day, so the earth is alone in God’s creation. Since verse two speaks of the earth having no form to it, the creation of the earth in verse one must refer to the basic elements of matter which would later be organized and molded together by God to form the present earth.

What God has created in Genesis 1:1 are the three basic elements: space (heavens), time (in the beginning), and mass (the earth). None of the three can have a meaningful existence w/o the other two. Matter is basically energy, and it can only function in time and space. Space is measurable, but it requires matter and time in order to be observed. And time is only meaningful with regard to entities and events that occur within it. All of which are true also of the Trinity.

Food for Thought

            What a wonderful God we serve! What Genesis 1:1 doesn’t tell us is that Jesus was there in the beginning, but just as John 1:1 teaches that Jesus was “in the beginning,” Colossians 1:16 teaches that it was actually Jesus who did the creating of the universe. He is part of that plural Godhead signified by the term Elohim. He is the “one mediator between God and man.” He is the Savior of the world who shed his blood to satisfy the wrath of God for sin. What an insult to this loving and all-powerful God to take His name in vain, to reject His call of salvation, to adhere to the Godless belief of evolution. God has made Himself known in His creation (Psalm 19; Rom. 1:19-20), through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the special revelation of His Word. If you don’t know Him, look out the window and see His creation. It’s awesome!

Genesis 1:2… And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

Commentary

            Genesis 1:1 can either be understood as a summary statement about God’s creation with the verses that follow as explanatory, or that it is God’s initial creation of the earth and the rest of the universe, with Genesis 1:2 as His second movement upon that creation. Option one might be explained as “I built a car” as a summary statement. I would then tell how I built the car. Option two might say, “I built a car” in one statement, but in the statements that follow I would explain that the car I initially built was not fully functioning and was in need of body work, a tune-up, and some tires. There are commentators on both sides, but we’ll look at it from the second view.

            The verse begins with “and” (signified by the Hebrew waw.) This little conjunction begins every verse in Genesis one after verse one, and it links each verse sequentially and chronologically with the statements before and after. In this case it denotes God’s initial creation as an unformed mass of earth/universe that resulted from His creation in verse one. Verse two simply tells us what it looked like and what God was doing. The implication is that God creates the universe out of nothing in verse one, and in verse two He hovers over it preparing to shape it.

The passage says that what God created in reference to the earth, not universe, in verse one was “formless” – a word meaning “empty.” The emptiness of the earth shows that it had no shape or life. It is also said to be “void” – a word that means “lack of order.” The fact that “darkness” is said to cover the earth also signifies how desolate and empty the earth originally was following God’s creation in verse one. Though darkness throughout the Bible often signifies evil, no evil appears to be present here. Though God Himself is light, He says, “I form the light and create darkness” (Isaiah 45:7). This is simply a mass of something that will eventually be the earth as we know it today. It sits suspended in space under God awaiting His fashioning.

            The darkness in this passage is “over the face of the deep.” The “deep” speaks of an area below the surface of bodies of water – the abyss. This is a dark, remote, and unexplained place controlled only by objects with vast powers. This “deep” is also the word that later describes the oceans, and 2 Peter 3:5 says, “by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water.” In other words, this “deep” is how God shapes the earth.

            The final phrase concerns the third member of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. He is “moving” over His creation. Synonymous with “vibrating,” the Holy Spirit is transmitting energy in the form of waves – light waves, heat waves, sound waves, etc. Noted scientist Dr. H.M. Morris says that there are only two fundamental types of forces (other than nuclear) that operate on matter: gravitational and the forces of the electromagnetic spectrum. All of these are associated with “fields” of activity and with transmission by wave motion. What is the Spirit of God doing above the waters? Since energy cannot create itself, He is acting as the generator, the Prime Mover, who imparts energy to the universe in rapid back-and-forth movements.

Food for Thought

            Before we come to know Christ, we are just like God’s original creation: formless and void; full of darkness. Only God can put life into His creation made in His image. The beauty of the earth after God said, “It is good” – only after He had “vibrated” over it and formed it – is akin to the beauty of sinful man being moved by God to place his/her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we come to know Christ we are full of darkness. After the Prime Mover touches us only then do we have life indeed. The dark void life we once had is now filled with light.

The Book of Genesis

            The importance of Genesis simply cannot be overlooked. Some seminaries and churches view the first eleven chapters as myth, but this view only reflects their own shortcomings. Genesis gives mankind the origin of the universe – the space/time/mass continuum. It gives the origin of complexity, of the solar system, of the atmosphere and hydrosphere. Genesis gives the origin of life, of man, and of marriage – the union of man and woman producing offspring. Genesis shows us the origins of evil, of language (of all various national languages), of government, and of culture (urbanization, metallurgy, music, agriculture, etc.). It shows us how the nations came into being, how religion is innate in all humans, and it gives the origin of God’s chosen people, namely, the Jews. Apart from Genesis there is no explanation for the existence of Israel. There isn’t another book in the Bible that is quoted as often and freely as Genesis by the other 39 authors, both from the OT and NT (over 200 quotations from NT authors).

            The Paradise lost in Genesis, due to man’s sin, is Paradise gained in the final consummation of time in the Book of Revelation. A comparison of Genesis & Revelation shows that God divided light & darkness in Genesis 1:4, while in Revelation there is no night (21:25). The division of land and sea in Genesis 1:10 is contrasted by the fact that there is no sea in Rev. 21:1. Genesis’ rule of sun and moon (1:16) is contrasted with Revelation’s “no need of sun and moon” (21:23). Man is in a prepared garden in Genesis 2:8-9, but in Revelation he is in a prepared city (21:2). There is a river flowing out of Eden in Genesis 2:10, but in Revelation 22:1 the river flows from God’s throne. The gold in the land in Gen. 2:12 relates to the gold in the city of Rev. 21:21. The tree of life in the midst of the garden in Gen. 2:9 is contrasted to the tree of life throughout the city in Rev. 22:2. The bdellium and onyx stone in Gen. 2:12 is contrasted with all manner of precious stones in Rev. 21:19. God walks in the garden in Gen. 3:8, but God dwells with His people in Rev. 21:3. The individual characteristics of the Genesis world were suited for man in his initial state of innocence on the earth, but the corresponding characteristics in Revelation are designated for his eternal state with His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

            Today we live in a world that is cursed (Gen. 3:17), but for believers in Christ at the end of time there is no more curse (Rev. 22:3). The daily sorrow we currently live in (Gen. 3:17) is “no more sorrow” in Rev. 21:4. Thorns and thistles today (Gen. 3:18) contrasts with “no more pain” in Rev. 21:4. The sweat on the face today (Gen. 3:19) is contrasted with “no more tears” in Rev. 21:4. Genesis’ eating of the herbs of the field (3:18) contrasts 12 manners of fruits in Rev. 22:2. Whereas we return to the dust in Gen. 3:19, we never die in Rev. 21:4. The continual evil of Gen. 6:5 contrasts Rev. 21:27 where there is nothing that defiles. Our covering of skins in Gen. 3:21 is a covering of white clean linen in Rev. 19:14. Whereas Satan opposes believers today (Gen. 3:15), he is banished in Rev. 20:10. We are kept from the tree of life in Gen. 3:24, but in Rev. 22:14 we eat from it. We are banished from the Garden of Eden in Gen. 3:23, but in Rev. 22:14 we have free access to the city. Where the Redeemer is promised in Gen. 3:15, the redemption is fully accomplished in Rev. 5:9-10 by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Food for Thought

            There is no mistaking the parallels of Genesis and Revelation. These are the two pieces of bread, as it were, and the filling is in the middle – the rest of God’s holy, awesome, and inerrant Word that He has lovingly passed on to us. It is spiritual food for the spiritually minded person. You can’t understand Genesis without Revelation, and you can’t understand Revelation without Genesis. Attempting to understand anything apart from God’s revealed Word is an exercise in futility, and there is no wisdom outside of God’s Word; no life apart from knowing Jesus Christ.

§ The starting point for Christianity isn’t the Gospels, it’s Genesis 1:1. Tamper with Genesis, and you tamper with Jesus. Perkins Seminary at SMU does this.

§ Either God created the universe, or He didn’t. Either we evolved out of the slime (survival of the fittest), or we were created by God in His image with a purpose. The former is hopeless.

§ Belief in creation is contrary to naturalism which states that every law and force operating in the universe is natural rather than moral, spiritual, or supernatural. It’s inherently atheistic.

§ Naturalism is simply a religion that requires great faith.

§ Naturalism erases all morality and abandons all hope for humanity.

§ Thomas Huxley rightly believed that evolution and ethics were incompatible.

§ Karl Marx was a devoted Darwin disciple, and these views brought about the genocide and racism that characterized the 20th century.

§ Evolution, despite proponents say, has never been proven, nor is it scientific (test/retest).

§ Carl Sagan borrowed divine attributes like infinitude, eternality, and omnipotence and made them properties of the universe, not God. He saw nothing greater than the universe.

§ Sagan believed that humans are nothing special, just spots on a “pale blue dot.”

§ Darwin in the South Sea Islands found what he thought was a missing link. He came back years later to find them singing hymns as a result of a missionary bringing them to Christ.

§ Secular author G.B. Dalrymple (Age of the Earth, 1992) says, “Scientific conclusions are always tentative, & the age of the Earth is subject to revision should new evidence require it.”

§ When left to themselves chemicals break down rather than “self-organize.”

§ Even if man began 4000 years ago and each two-person family averaged 2.6 children, the earth’s population would be 10 trillion (currently 6 billion). If man began 2 million years ago and increased at 1/10 of the present rate there would be 5 quintillion people on the earth.

§ Darwin’s original Origin of Species has been changed 87 times. He used words like “seemed, implies, may, etc.), but modern revisions have taken those out.

§ Microevolution vs. macroevolution.

§ Evolutionists believe in miracles of chance, but Christians believe in documented miracles.

§ Muslims worship Allah. Hinduism looks to Buddha. Evolution’s god is “Chance.”

§ The chances of evolution occurring are staggering. One man coming out of the primordial soup is one thing but a woman too to produce offspring?

§ The fossil record, according to one evolutionist (John Challinor), says that the fossil record only partially supports evolution, but it also supports a special creation.

§ The 40-year hoax of Piltdown Man.

§ Many Christians are too intimidated to defend what scripture teaches about creation, and they adhere to evolution as the way God did it.

§ Evolution was specifically designed to attack God’s creation as found in Genesis.

§ There isn’t even one point of creation that differs with true science.

§ Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we believe that the heavens were created by the Word of God.”

§ Gen. 1:1 refutes atheism; God created; pantheism b/c God is transcendent over His creation; polytheism b/c one God created; materialism b/c all matter had a beginning; dualism b/c God was alone; humanism b/c God is ultimate reality; evolutionism b/c God created all things.

§ The HS is “moving” (vibrating) over His creation. He is transmitting energy in the form of waves – light waves, heat waves, sound waves, etc. Morris says that there are only two fundamental types of forces (other than nuclear) that operate on matter: gravitational and the forces of the electromagnetic spectrum. All are associated with “fields” of activity and transmission by wave motion. Since energy cannot create itself, He generates it here.

§ Life cannot come up out of non-life as evolution believes, no matter how many years its given.

§ The 2nd law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy). While it is true that local order can increase in an open system if certain conditions are met, the fact is that evolution does not meet those conditions. Simply saying that the earth is open to the energy from the sun says nothing about how that raw solar heat is converted into increased complexity in any system, open or closed. The fact is that the best known and most fundamental equation of thermo-dynamics says that the influx of heat into an open system will increase the entropy of that system, not decrease it. All known cases of  or increased organization in open systems involve a guiding program of some sort and one or more energy conversion mechanisms.

§ No Evolution at Present… Never been observed.

§ No evolution in the Past… No transitional forms of fossils have been found, and all fossils are of fish, apes, etc. in their complete state, not transitional. No “dats” or “cogs.”

§ No New Species… "Darwin never really did discuss the origin of species in his On the Origin of Species." Not only could Darwin not cite a single example of a new species originating, but neither has anyone else, in all the subsequent century of evolutionary study.

§ No Known Mechanism of Evolution… No one understands how evolution works. Evolutionists commonly protest that they know evolution is true, but they can't seem to determine its mechanism.

§ No Fossil Evidence… All fossils appear fully formed with no transitional forms.

§ No Order in the Fossils… there is not even any general evidence of evolutionary progression in the actual fossil sequences.

§ No Evidence That Evolution Is Possible.

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