The Creation of the World
The first verse of the Bible is the foundational verse of the Bible.
It is obvious that the first 11 chapters of Genesis which deal with the whole world
and with all the nations, constitute the foundation for the rest of Genesis,
which deals specifically with the beginnings of the nation Israel.
Chapter 1 of Genesis is the foundational chapter of these first 11 chapters,
since it summarizes the creation
of the world and all things therein.
Genesis 1:1 is the foundational verse of this foundational chapter, speaking of the primeval creation
of the universe itself.
It is the foundation of all foundations and therefore is the most important verse in the Bible.
Undoubtedly, it contains the first words ever written, since it is the opening statement of the world's
most often printed book, these are surely the most widely read words ever written.
In his book "The Genesis Record", Henry M. Morris, states,
"If a person really believe Genesis 1:1, he will not find it difficult to believe anything else
recorded in the Bible.
That is, if God really created all things, then He controls all things and can do all things."
Morris also states that this one verse refutes all of man's false philosophies concerning the origin
and meaning of the world.
(1) It refutes atheism because the universe was created by God.
(2) It refutes pantheism, for God is transcendent to that which He created.
(3) It refutes polytheism, for one God created all things.
(4) it refutes materialism, for matter had a beginning.
(5) It refutes dualism, because God was alone when He created.
(6) It refutes humanism, because God, not man, is the ultimate reality.
(7) It refutes evolutionism, because God created all things.
Morris states that all such false philosophies are merely different ways
of expressing the same unbelief.
He goes on to say: "Each one proposes that there is no personal, transcendent God,
and that ultimate reality is to be found in the eternal cosmos itself.
Each one also proposes that ultimate reality is to be found in the eternal cosmos itself;
and that the development of the universe into its present form is contingent solely
on the innate properties
of its own components.
In essence, each of the above philosophies embraces all the others.
For example, dualism, is a summary form of polytheism, which is the popular expression
of pantheism, which presupposes materialism, which functions in terms of evolutionism,
which finds its consummation in humanism, which culminates in atheism."
The book of Genesis makes no attempt to prove that God exists.
The opening verse of Genesis simply takes this fact for granted, as though it were so obvious
that only a fool could say "there is no God." (Psalm 14:1)
The First Verse
Chapter 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
It is vitally important, if we would ever really fully understand anything in the Bible,
or in the world in general, that we first understand the teaching of Genesis 1:1.
Therefore, let us consider each word in this all-important declaration.
This first occurrence of the divine nature is the Hebrew, "Elohim," the name of God
which stresses His majesty and omnipotence.
This is the name used throughout the first chapter of Genesis.
The "im" ending is the Hebrew plural ending, so that Elohim can actually mean "gods,"
and is so translated in various passages referring to the gods of the heathen. (e.g., Psalm 96:5)
However, it is clearly used here in the singular, as the mighty name of God the Creator,
the first of over two thousand times where it is used in this way.
Thus Elohim is a plural name with a singular meaning, a "uni-plural" noun, thereby suggesting
the uni-plurality of the Godhead.
God is one, yet more than one.
This is the remarkable word, "bara," used always only of the work of God.
Only God can create -- that is, call into existence that which had no existence.
He "calleth those sayings which be not as though they were." (Romans 4:17
"... The worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen
were not made of things which do not appear." (Hebrews 11:3)
Man can "make" things or "form" things, but we cannot create things.
God also can "make" and "form" things (Hebrew asah and yatsar, respectively),
and do so far more effectively and quickly than man can do.
The work of creation, however, is uniquely a work of God.
The work of making and forming consists of organizing already existing materials
into more complex systems, whereas the act of creation is that of speaking into existence
something whose materials had no previous existence, except in the mind and power of God.
The use of the word "create" here in Genesis 1:1 informs us that, at this point,
the physical universe was spoken into existence by God.
It had no existence prior to this primeval creative act of God.
God alone is infinite and eternal.
He also is omnipotent, so that it was possible for Him to call the universe into being.
Although it is impossible for us to comprehend fully this concept of an eternal,
transcendent God, the only alternative is the concept of an eternal,
self-existing universe; and this concept is also incomprehensible.
Eternal God or a eternal matter -- that is the choice.
The latter is an impossibility if the present scientific law of cause and effect is valid,
since random particles of matter could not, by themselves, generate a complex,
orderly, intelligible universe, not to mention living persons capable of applying intelligence
to the understanding of the complex order of the universe.
A personal God is the only adequate Cause to produce such effects.
This word is the Hebrew, "shamayim" which, like Elohim, is a plural noun,
and can be translated either "heaven" or "heavens," depending on the context
and on whether it is associated
with a singular or plural verb.
It does not mean the stars of heaven, which were made only on the fourth day
of Creation Week (Genesis 1:16), and which constitute the "host" of heaven,
not heaven itself. (Genesis 2:1)
There is a possibility that the Hebrew word may originally represent a compound
of sham ("there" and mayim ("waters"), thus reflecting the primeval association of water
with the upper reaches of the atmosphere. (Genesis 1:7)
However, it seems that the essential meaning of the word corresponds
to our modern term space, such as when we speak of the universe
as a universe of space and time.
Apparently there is no other Hebrew word used in this sense in the Bible,
whereas the use of "heaven" is everywhere consistent with such a concept.
Understood in this way, it can also refer either to space in general or to a particular space,
just as we may speak of "outer space," "inner space," "atmospheric space," and so forth.
In Genesis 1:1, the term refers to the component of space in the basic
In like manner the term "Earth" refers to the component of matter in the universe.
At the time of the initial creation, there were no other planets, stars,
or other material bodies in the universe.
Nor did any of them come into being until the fourth day.
The earth itself originally had no form to it (Genesis 1:2); so this verse must speak
essentially to the creation of the basic elements of matter, which thereafter
were to be organized into the structured earth and later into other material bodies.
The word is the Hebrew erets and is often also translated either "ground" or "land."
Somewhat similar to the use of "heaven," it can mean either a particular portion of earth
(e.g., the "land of Canaan" -- Genesis 12:5) or the earth material in general
(e.g., "Let the earth bring forth grass" -- Genesis 1:11).
5. "In the beginning"
Not only does the first verse of the Bible speak of the creation of space and matter,
but it also notes the beginning of time.
The universe is actually a contunuum of space, matter, and time, no one of which can have
a meaningful existence without the other two.
The term matter is understood to include energy, and must function in both space and time.
"Space" is measurable and accessible to sense observation only in terms of the entities
that exist and the events that happen in space, and these require both matter and time.
The concept time likewise is meaningful only in terms of entities and events existing
and transpiring during time, which likewise require space and matter.
Thus, Genesis 1:1 can legitimately and incisively be paraphrased as follows:
"The transcendent, omnipotent Godhead called into existence
the space-mass-time universe."
As noted earlier, the name, Elohim suggests that God is both one God,
yet more than one.
Though it does not specify that God is a trinity, the fact that the product
of His creative activity was a tri-universe does at least strongly suggest this possibility.
A trinity, or tri-unity is not the same as a triad (in which there are three distinct
and separate components comprising a system), but rather is a continuum
in which each component is itself coexistent and coterminous with the whole.
That is, the universe is not part space, part time, and part matter,
but rather all space, all time, all matter,
and so is a true tri-unity.
The phrase "In the beginning" is the Hebrew bereshith, and is properly translated
in the Authorized Version.
In the Greek Septuagint it is translated en arche, the same words used in John 1:1:
"In the beginning was the Word."
Although the universe had a beginning, the Word was already there
and thus transcends the universe.
Some modern translators, trying to find a means of accommodating the supposedly
great age of the universe, have suggested a weaker translation of bereshith,
such as, "In the beginning of God's creating ...,"
Or "When God began to create..."
Although Hebrew scholars recognize that this is a grammatically possible translation,
the context precludes it.
The purpose is clearly to tell about the beginning of all things; whereas this kind of translation,
rather than answering the question, really raises the question instead.
Furthermore, the conjunction: "And" connecting versus 1 and 2
clearly shows sequential action.
That is, verse 1 cannot be a sort of modifying clause of verse 2,
but rather it is a declarative statement followed by a second declarative statement.
Neither can verse 1 as a whole be considered a title or summery of the events described
in the succeeding verses of the chapter, for the same reasons.
The summary, in fact, is given in Genesis 2:4:
"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created…"
Furthermore, Genesis 2:1 notes the termination of the work of six days of creation
by the following summary:
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."
This statement clearly refers to the work of the previous six days, including the first day.
However, it includes "the heavens" in this summary.
And the only mention of the heavens during the six days is in Genesis 1:1,
a fact which demonstrates that the summary of Genesis 2:1 embraces
also the work of Genesis 1:1.
In other words, the primeval creation of the heaven and the earth in the beginning
was the first act of the first day of the six days, calling into existence the basic elements
of the space-mass-time continuum which constitutes the physical universe.
The Second Verse
2. "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
Every word and phrase of Genesis 1:2, like Genesis 1:1, is vitally important
to a sound understanding of God's created universe.
"And the earth was…"
It is significant that every verse in the first chapter of Genesis (except Genesis 1:1)
begins with a conjunction "And" (Hebrew waw).
This structure clearly means that each statement is sequentially and chronologically
connected to the verses before and after.
Each action follows directly upon the action described in the verse preceding it.
This pattern must apply to the first two verses, as well as to any other pair
of verses in the chapter.
Thus there seems no room for a chronological gap of any consequence between
the first two verses of Genesis.
The condition described in verse 2 follows immediately upon the creative act of verse 1.
The gap theory also proposes that the word translated "was" (Hebrew hayetha)
should really be translated "became," thus suggesting a change of state from the
original perfect creation to the chaotic condition inferred from verse 2.
Although such a translation is grammatically possible, it is highly unlikely
in this particular context.
The verb is the regular Hebrew verb of being (hayetha), not the word normally
used to denote a change of state (haphak)Although hayetha can also,
if the context warrants, be used to introduce a change of state,
it simply means "was" in ninety-eight percent of its occurrences.
That is why, in the King James and every other standard translation of the Bible,
Genesis 1:2 is always translated "was," never "became."
There is nothing at all in the context of Genesis 1 to suggest that it should
in this particular case
be rendered "became."
But even if it were to be translated "became," it would not necessarily imply a change of state.
It might well refer simply to the nature of some by the created earth in response
to the divine creative fiat of Genesis 1:1.
"Without form and void"
his phrase is, in the Hebrew, tohu wavohu, or tohu waw bohu.
The gap theory suggests that these words should really be translated "ruined and desolate,"
or some such phrase.
It would then speak of a divine cataclysmic judgment which had been visited on the earth
and which had left it in a chaotic and ruined condition.
In justification of this claim, reconstructionists maintain that God, being perfect,
would never create the universe in a chaotic state.
Therefore, they say, such a state must have come about long after the creation itself,
probably because of Satan's sin and judgment.
Furthermore, they point out, Isaiah 45:18 specifically says that God created
not the earth "in vain [Hebrew tohu],
He formed it to be inhabited."
Such an interpretation of Genesis 1:2, however, is very forced and unnatural.
The word tohu can carry various shades of meaning.
It occurs twenty times in the Old Testament and is translated in the King James Version
no less than ten different ways ("vanity," "confusion," "empty place," "nothing," etc.).
Its proper translation depends on the specific context and the best translation in the context
of Genesis 1:2 is exactly as the King James scholars rendered it: "without form."
Similarly, the context of Isaiah 45:18 (having to do with God's purpose for the land of Israel)
makes the best translation there to be "in vain."
Paraphrasing, the message can be read:
"God created not the earth [to be] forever unformed and uninhabited.
He formed it to be inhabited"
The creation narrative in Genesis 1 tells the steps by which He brought form
to the unformed earth and living inhabitants to its empty surface.
There is certainly no contradiction with the statement and Genesis 1:2
that the initial creation was of basic elements rather than of a completed system.
The initial creation was not perfect in the sense that it was complete,
but it was perfect for that first stage in God's six-day plan of creation.
Likewise, the word bohu does not connote a desolation, but simply "emptiness."
When initially created, the earth had no inhabitants.
It was "void."
The essential meaning, therefore, is: "In the beginning God created
the heaven and the earth [or space and matter], and the matter so created
was at first unformed and uninhabited."
The created cosmos, as discussed earlier, was a tri-universe of time, space, and matter.
Initially there were no stars or planets, only the basic matter component
of the space-matter-time continuum.
The elements which were to be formed into the planet Earth were at first only elements,
not yet formed but nevertheless comprising the basic matter – the basic matter
– the "dust" of the earth.
"Darkness upon the face of the deep"
The idea that God, being Light, could not create a world in darkness is invalid
for God Himself said: "I form the light, and create darkness… (Isaiah 45:7).
The physical universe, though created, was as yet neither formed nor energized,
and life is a form of energy.
The absence of physical life means darkness, just as the absence of form and inhabitants
means a universe in elemental form, not yet completed.
No evil is implied in either case, merely incompleteness.
Further information concerning this initial stage of the creation is given him
the praise "the face of the deep."
The word "face" is the Hebrew panim and issues primarily to referred to "presence."
This is probably its meaning in Genesis 1:2 – not "surface" but "presence."
That is, wherever the "deep" was, there also was darkness.
The "deep" (Hebrew tehom) refers later to the waters of the ocean.
Initially, however, the earth had no form; and similarly, the state must apply
to the waters also.
The picture presented is one of all the basic material elements sustained
in a pervasive watery matrix throughout the darkness of space.
The same picture is suggested in 2 Peter 3:5:
"… The earth standing out of the water and in the water."
There is an important reference to the initial formless condition of this watery
suspension in Proverbs 8:24, 27: "When there were no depths [same word as 'deep'],
I was brought forth… when he set a compass
upon the face of the depth [or 'deep']."
This section of Proverbs 8 is a remarkable summary of the work of the Second Person
of the Godhead on each of the first three days of creation.
It was He who existed before there was an "earth" or a "deep" (Proverbs 8:23, 24),
and it was He who "set a compass" upon the face of the depth [deep]" (Proverbs 8:27).
The word "compass" is the Hebrew chug, which also occurs in Isaiah 40:22
("… He sitteth upon the circle of the earth…")
and Job 22:14 ("… He walketh in the circuit of heaven…").
It is a striking reference to the earth's sphericity, especially referring
to the shape of the ocean, the spherical form of whose surface is everywhere
the standard of measurement in the vertical – that is, from sea level.
The fact that this "compass" had to be "set" on the face of the deep shows
that the face of the deep originally had no sphericity – it was formless, exactly
as intimated in Genesis 1:2.
Elements of matter and molecules of water were present, but not yet energized.
The force of gravity was not yet functioning to draw such particles together
into a coherent mass with a definite form.
Neither was the electromagnetic forces yet in operation and everything was in darkness.
The physical universe had come into existence, but everything was still and dark
– no form, no motion, no light.
"The face of the waters"
This term is synonymous with "the face of the deep.
Again the word "face" means "presence," and the thought is that the formless waters,
like the formless earth, were essentially a "presence" rather than a cohesive body.
Although the marvelous universe had been called into existence by the omnipotent Creator,
it had not yet been imbued with energy and set in motion.
This must await the energizing action of the Spirit of God and the activating power
of the Word of God.
"The Spirit of God moved"
It was noted previously that the divine name Elohim suggests that God is both
a unity and a plurality, and that the tri-universe created by God probably reflects
the tri–une nature of the Godhead.
At this point, a particular person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, is seen in action.
The word "Spirit" is the Hebrew ruach, which is also the word for "wind" and "breath."
The context determines which is the correct meaning in any given instance.
In Genesis 1:2 there is no doubt that the creative activity requires not a wind
but the person of God Himself.
Since the universe was everywhere in need of activation, that person of the
Godhead who is both
omnipresent and energizing is appropriately mentioned as working
in the creation at this point.
This activity of the Holy Spirit is called that of "moving" in the presence of the waters.
The word "moved" (Hebrew rachaph) occurs only three times in the Old Testament,
the other two being translated "shake" (Jeremiah 23:9) and "
fluttereth" (Deuteronomy 32:11), respectively.
Some commentators relate the word particularly to the hovering of a mother hen
over her chicks.
In any case, the idea seems to be mainly that of a rapid back and fourth motion.
In modern scientific terminology, the best translation would probably be "vibrated."
If the universe is to be energized, there must be an Energizer.
If it is to be set in motion, there must be a Prime Mover.
It is significant that the transmission of energy in the operations of the cosmos
is in the form of waves – light waves, heat waves, sound waves, and so forth.
In fact (except or the nuclear forces which are involved in the structure of matter its self),
there only two fundamental types of forces that operate on matter – the gravitational forces
and the forces of the electromagnetic spectrum.
All are associated with "fields" of activity and with transmission by wave motion.
Waves are typically rapid back-and-forth movements and they are normally produced
by the vibratory motions of a wave generator of some kind.
Energy cannot create itself.
It is most appropriate that the first impartation of energy to the universe is described
as the "vibrating" movement of the Spirit of God Himself.
As the outflowing energy from God's omniscience Spirit began to flow outward
and to permeate the cosmos, gravitational forces were activated and water and earth
articles came together to form a great sphere moving through space.
Other such particles would soon come together also to form sun, moon, and stars
throughout the universe.
There was now a "compass" on the face of the deep, and the formless earth had assumed
the beautiful form of a perfect sphere.
It was now ready for light and heat and other forms of enlivening energy.
There is another "moving" of the Spirit of God mentioned in the Bible.
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake
as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1: 21)
Here the word "moved " is the Greek phero, which in fact is used in the Septuagint
as the translation of "moved" in Genesis 1:2.
As the Holy Spirit energized the primeval universe, to bring form and life to God's creation,
so He later empowered God's prophets, to bring beauty and spiritual life to His new creation,
through the energizing Word which they inscripturated.
Next: The Six Days of Creation -- Genesis 1:3-5
"And God said, Let there be light; and there was light."
The Word of God brings light!
The Father is the source of all things (verse 1), the Spirit is the energizer
of all things (verse 2), the Word is the revealer of all thing (verse 3).
When light appeared, "God divided the light from the darkness."
Darkness was not removed completely, so far as the earth was concerned,
but only separated from the light.
Furthermore, "God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night."
God carefully defined His terms.
The very first time He used the word "day" (Hebrew yom), He defined it as the "light,"
to distinguish it from the "darkness" called "night."
Having separated the day and night, Godhead completed his first day's work.
"The evening and the morning were the first day."
This is the same formula that is used at the conclusion of each of the six days;
so it is obvious that the duration of each of the days, including the first, was the same.
Furthermore, the "day" was the "light" time, when God did His work.
The darkness was the "night" time when God did no work.
Nothing new took place between the "evening" and "morning" of each day.
The formula may be rendered literally: "And there was evening,
then morning -- day one," and so on.
It is clear that, beginning with the first day and continuing thereafter, there was established
a cyclical succession of days and nights -- periods of light and periods of darkness.
Such a cyclical light-dark arrangement clearly means that the earth was now rotating on its axis
and that there was a source of light on one side of the earth corresponding to the sun,
even though the sun was not yet made. (Genesis 1:16)
It is equally clear that the length of such days could only have been that of a normal solar day.
It should be noted that in the Hebrew Old Testament yom without exception never means "period."
It normally means either a day (in the twenty four hour sense),
or else the daylight portion of the 24 hours ("day" as distinct from "night").
It may occasionally be used in the sense of indefinite time such as "in the time of the judges",
but never as a definite period of time with a specific beginning and ending.
Furthermore, it is not used even in this indefinite sense except when the context clearly indicates
that the literal meaning is not intended.
In the first chapter of Genesis, the termination of each day's work is noted by the formula:
"And the evening and the morning were the first [or 'second," etc.] day."
Thus each "day" had distinct boundaries and was one in a series of days, both of which criteria
are never present in the Old Testament writings unless literal days are intended.
The writer of Genesis was trying to guard in every way possible against any of his readers deriving
the notion of nonliteral days from his record.
In fact, it was necessary for him to be completely explicit on this point,
since all the pagan nations of antiquity believed in some form of evolutionary cosmology
which entailed vast eons of time before man and other living creatures developed
from the primeval chaos.
The writer not only defined the term "day," but emphasized that it was terminated
by a literal evening and morning and that it was like every other day
in the normal sequence of days.
In no way can the term be legitimately applied here to anything corresponding
to a geological period
or any other such concept.
Returning to the significance of light is created, it is obvious that visible light
is primarily meant, since it was set in contrast to darkness.
At the same time, the presence of visible light waves necessarily involves the entire
Beyond the visible light waves are, on the one hand, ultraviolet light
and all the other shortwave-length radiations and, on the other hand,
infrared light and the other longwave phenomenon.
In turn, setting the electromagnetic forces in the operation in effect
completed the energizing of the physical cosmos.
All the types of force and energy which interact in the universe involve only electromagnetic,
gravitational, and nuclear forces; and all of these have now been activated.
This tremendous creative act of the Godhead might be summarized by saying
that the nuclear forces maintaining the integrity of matter were activated
by the Father when He created the elements of the space-mass-continuum,
the gravitational forces were activated by the Spirit when He brought form and motion
to the initially static and formless matter, and the electromagnetic forces were activated
by the Word when He called light into existence out of the darkness.
Of course, God is One, and all three persons of the Godhead actually participated
in all parts of the creation and continued to function in the maintenance
of the universe so created.
All of this was accomplished on the first day of creation.
The physical universe had been created and energized, and was ready for further shaping
and furnishing in preparation for man, whose dominion it would be.
Although not mentioned in Genesis 1, it is probable that another act of creation
took place on this first day.
Sometime prior to the third day of creation, a multitude of angels had been created,
since they were present when the "foundations of the earth" were laid
-- probably a reference to the establishment of solid land surfaces on the earth. (Job 38:4-7)
It is impossible that they could have existed before the creation
of the physical universe itself, since their sphere of operation is in this universe
and their very purpose is to minister to the "heirs of salvation." (Hebrews 1:14)
Angels are called the "host of heaven," and so could not have been created
before the existence of heaven.
Psalm 104 (verses 2-5) says that angels were made as spirits after the materialization
of God's light-arrayed presence in the stretched-out heavens, but prior to the laying
of the solid foundations of the land.
Therefore, although angels are not mentioned as such at this point in Genesis,
their spiritual presence has fascinated observers after the remaining acts of creation
and formation may certainly be inferred.
Morris titles the following information as:
A Tent to Dwell In
After the first day, the earth was no longer without form, but it was still void of inhabitants.
Next it must be prepared as a home for man during this probationary period.
Ultimately the entire universe would be made available for man's exploration and utilization,
but first he must be given the earth (Psalm 115:16), on a trial basis, and it must be made ready
as a uniquely suitable planet for him to dwell on.
The earth is a planet uniquely suitable for human habitation.
Of special importance is its oxygen atmosphere and its hydrosphere of liquid water.
Both are vital for man's existence and both are unique to the earth,
so far as all evidence goes.
The first essential in God's preparation of the earth was a carefully designed
atmosphere and hydrosphere.
Isaiah 40:12, 22 says, "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure…
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;
that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in."
Genesis 1:6-8: "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters,
and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament
from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven.
And the evening and the morning were the second day."
On the first day of the earth was still of dominantly watery aspect.
Other materials were in solution or suspension, presumably with the water
mainly in the liquid state.
Some of these waters were to be separated from the greater mass of waters,
however, and placed high above the rotating globe, with a great space separating them
from the waters below.
The lower waters would provide the water-based for living flesh
and for the earth processes, the upper waters would provide a sort of protective canopy
("a tent to dwell in") for earth's inhabitants, nd the space between would provide
an atmospheric reservoir to maintain the breath of life.
The power required to effect such a tremendous separation once again came
from God’s spoken Word:
"Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters…"
The word "firmament" is the Hebrew raqia, meaning "expanse," or "spread-out-thinness."
It may well be synonymous with our modern technical term "space," practically the same
as discussed earlier in connection with the meaning of "heaven."
In fact, this passage specifically says that "God called the firmament Heaven…"
The statement seemed to confirm the fact that "firmament" and "heaven"
are essentially synonymous terms, both meaning "space" -- either space in general
or a particular region of space, depending on the context.
There are three particular "heavens" mentioned in Scripture: the atmospheric heaven
(Jeremiah 4:25), the sidereal heaven (Isaiah 13:10), and the heaven of God's throne
Likewise the term "firmament" is used in each of these same three ways
(Genesis 1:17, 20; Ezekiel 1:22).
The term "heaven of heavens" is also used frequently "2 Chronicles 2:6),
probably referring to the entire universe, the space comprising all spaces.
The firmament referred to in this particular passage is obviously the atmosphere.
Unfortunately the English word has been interpreted by many to referred to a solid dome
across the sky; consequently this idea has been used by liberal critics as evidence
of the "prescientific" outlook of Genesis.
Neither the original Hebrew word nor any of the passages in which it occurs suggest
such an ideal, however.
A "firmament" is simply "thin, stretched-out space."
Separated by this firmament, or atmosphere, the two bodies of water henceforth
were ready for their essential functions in sustaining future life on the earth.
The actual process of separation was possibly implemented by converting a portion
of the liquid water into the vapor state, perhaps through application of divine heat energy.
The reactions so induced on the watery suspension also released the other gaseous components
of the atmosphere, which became the "firmament" holding up the lighter water vapor above.
The "waters above the firmament" probably constituted a vast blanket of water vapor
above the troposphere and possibly above the stratosphere as well, in the
high-temperature region now known as the ionosphere, and extending far into space.
They could not have been the clouds of water droplets which now float in the atmosphere,
because the Scripture says they were "above the firmament."
Furthermore, there was no "rain upon the earth" in those days (Genesis 2:5),
nor any "bow in the cloud" (Genesis 9:13), both of which must have been present
if these upper waters represented merely the regime of clouds which functions
in the present hydrologic economy.
The concept of an antediluvian water canopy over the Earth has appeared in many writings,
both ancient and modern.
A number of writers have visualized it as a system of rings like those of the planet Saturn,
composed possibly of ice particles orbiting the earth.
Others have described it as and orbiting "shell" of ice or liquid water.
Some have thought of it merely as dense banks of clouds surrounding the earth,
possibly analogous to the cloud cover around the planet Venus
(the latter, however, is now believed to be composed of carbon dioxide rather than water).
A vapor canopy seemed more likely, however, both because of the inferred manner
of its formation and because it would have to be transparent in order for the
heavenly bodies to "give light upon the earth" and to "be for signs, and for seasons,
and for days, and years" (Genesis 1:14, 15).
Water vapor, even in vast amounts, is invisible, whereas clouds, fog, and so forth,
are composed of minute droplets of liquid water and are therefore opaque.
Furthermore, a vapor canopy could be more easily maintained aloft and would serve
much more effectively as a marvelous sustainer of vigorous life conditions on the earth.
It can be shown that such a canopy would accomplish the following services,
(1) Since water vapor has the ability both to transmit incoming solar radiation
and to retain and disperse much of the radiation reflected from the earth's surface,
it would serve as a global greenhouse, maintaining an essentially uniformly
pleasant warm temperature all over the world.
(2) With nearly uniform temperatures, great air-mass movements would be inhibited
and windstorms would be unknown.
(3) With no global air circulation, the hydrologic cycle of the present world
could not be implemented and there would be no rain, except directly over the bodies
of water from which it might have evaporated.
(4) With no global air circulation, and therefore no turbulence or dust particles transported
to the upper atmosphere, the water vapor in the canopy would have been stable
and not precipitate itself.
(5) The planet would have been maintained not only at uniform temperatures
but also at comfortable uniform humidities by means of daily local evaporation
and condensation (like dew, or ground fog) in each day-night cycle.
(6) The combination of warm temperature and adequate moisture everywhere
would be conducive later to extensive stands of lust vegetation all the world,
with no barren deserts or ice caps.
(7) A vapor canopy would also be highly effective in filtering out ultraviolet radiations,
cosmic rays, and other destructive energies from outer space.
These are known to be the source of both somatic and genetic mutations,
which decreased the viability of the individual and the species, respectively.
So the canopy would contribute effectively to human and animal health and longevity.
(8) Some have objected to the idea of a heavy vapor canopy because of the great increase
in atmospheric pressure which it would cause at the earth's surface.
Rather than being a problem, however, this effect would contribute still further
to health and longevity.
Modern biomedical research is increasingly proving that such "hyberbaric" pressures
are very effective in combating disease and in promoting good health generally.
(9) Later, when needed, these upper waters would provide the reservoir
from which God would send a great Flood, to save the godly remnant from the hopelessly
corrupt population of that day (the content of water vapor in the present atmosphere,
if all precipitated, would cover the earth only to a depth of about 1 inch).
Although the "waters above the firmament" were condensed and precipitated in the Flood,
they will apparently be restored in the millennial earth which God will create.
Psalm 148:4, 6 speaks of the "waters that be above the heavens" which, like the stars,
will be established "for ever and ever."
Genesis 1:9-10: "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered
together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters
called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."
The "waters under the firmament" still constituted a shoreless ocean, in which probably
all of the material elements were randomly dissolved or suspended.
On the third day of creation, the third act of division was accomplished by God.
The light had been divided from the darkness on the first day, divided from the waters
below the firmament on the second day, and now the dry land from the lower waters on the third day.
Once again, the energizing agent was the Word of God.
"Let the dry land appear!"
Tremendous chemical reactions got underway, as dissolved elements precipitated
and combined with others to form the vast complex of minerals and rocks making up
the solid earth -- its crust, its mantle, and its core.
Great earth movements also got underway, in response to differential heating
and other forces.
Finally, surfaces of solid earth appeared above the waters and an intricate network
of channels and reservoirs opened up in the crust to receive the waters re-creating
off the rising continents.
Some of these reservoirs were open directly to the waters descending from above,
others were formed as great subterranean chambers within the crust itself.
All were interconnected by a complex network of tubes and waterways,
so that in essence they were all "gathered together unto one place."
Although in one "place," the waters had assembled in numerous distinct basins,
so that God called this "gathering-together of the waters Seas" (i.e., a plural term).
These were, of course, not the same as our present seas, since the antediluvian arrangement
of continental and marine areas was completely changed at the time of the Flood.
Finally, these "foundation (s) of the earth" (Psalm 102:25; Job 38:4; Zachariah 12:1;
Isaiah 48:13; etc.)
had been perfectly laid, and "God called the dry land Earth."
This name (Hebrew eretz) is the same as used in Genesis 1:1 and 2, showing that
the formless matter originally created is the same matter as used in the finally
constituted solid ground.
All of this was accomplished during the first part of the third day of creation.
Genesis 1:11-13: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed,
and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth:
and it was so.
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind,
and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind:
and God saw that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the third day."
Not only had rocks and minerals been form, but so had a blanket of fertile soil -- sand, silt,
and clay-sized particles in an ideally graded mixture, with abundant chemical nutrients
and soil moisture.
Then God spoke again, this time organizing certain of the chemical elements of the earth
into tremendously complex systems, each with the marvelous informational program
built into its chemical structure which could henceforth specify the reproduction
of other units like itself.
There is no suggestion that the systems were "living," at least not in the sense
that they possessed any form of consciousness; but each did have its "seed in its self"
and so had the ability of reproducing its kind.
Three main orders of plant "life" are mentioned: grasses, herbs, and trees.
Whether this classification corresponds to modern taxonomic nomenclature
or not is irrelevant.
The latter is man-made and entirely arbitrary, whereas these Biblical divisions
are obvious and natural.
The three are intended to cover all types of plants and these are the most obvious
The term "grass" is intended to include all spreading ground-covering vegetation;
"herbs" includes all bushes and shrubs; "trees" includes all large woody plants,
including even fruit-bearing trees.
It is significant that these plants were made, not as seeds, but as full-grown plants
whose seed was in themselves.
Thus, they had an "appearance of age."
Adam was created as a full-grown man, the trees were created as full-grown trees,
and the entire universe was made as a functioning entity, complete and fully developed,
right from the beginning.
The "apparent age" that might be calculated in terms of present processes
would without doubt be vastly different from the "true age" as revealed by the Creator.
In verse 11 occurs the first mention of both "seed" and "kind."Implanted in its created
organism was a "seed," programmed to enable the continuing replication
of that type of organism.
The modern understanding of the extreme complexity is of the so-called DNA molecule
and the genetic code contained in it has reinforced the Biblical teaching
of the stability of kinds.
Each type of organism has its own unique structure of the DNA and can only specify
the reproduction of that same kind.
There is a tremendous amount of variational potential within its kind,
facilitating the generation of distinct individuals and even of many varieties with
and the kind, but nevertheless precluding the evolution of new kinds!
A great deal of "horizontal" variation is easily possible, but no "vertical" changes.
It is significant that the phrase "after his kind" occurs ten times
in the first chapter of Genesis.
Whatever precisely is meant by the term "kind" (Hebrew min), it does indicate
the limitations of variation.
Each organism was to reproduce after its own kind, not after some other kind.
It will probably be found eventually that the min often is identical with the "species,"
sometimes with the "genus," and possibly once in a while with the "family."
Practically never is variation possible outside the biologic family.
In any case, the evolutionary dogma that all living things are interrelated
by common ancestry and dissent is refuted by these Biblical statements,
as well as by all established scientific observations made to date.
The permanence of the created kinds is further supported by 1 Corinthians 15:38, 39:
"But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of man,
another flesh of beasts another of fishes, and another of birds."
The term "kind," as applied to animals at least, is somewhat amplified in Leviticus 11:13-32.
It should also be mentioned that the formation of plants, even in such complex forms
as fruit trees, occurred before the creation of any form of animal life.
Of course, this is quite logical, but it does flatly contradict the accepted evolutionary system,
which has marine animals, both invertebrates and vertebrates, involving hundreds
of millions of years before the evolution of fruit trees and other higher plants.
Furthermore, many plants require pollination by insects, but insects were not made
until the sixth day of creation, which fact argues against the possibilities
that the days of creation could have been long ages.
The idea of theistic evolution is counter to the Biblical record of creation
in practically every passage.
Then, for the third time we read the phrase "God saw that it was good."
This was the pronouncement after the work of bringing light to the earth (verse 4),
after the work of dividing the waters and establishing the land surfaces (verse 10)
and now after the development of of a plant cover for the land (verse 12).
"And the evening and the morning were the third day."
The term "evening" (Hebrew ereb) and "morning" (Hebrew boqer) each occur
more than one hundred times in the Old Testament, and always have the literal meaning
-- that is, the termination of the daily period of light and the termination
of the daily period of darkness, respectively.
Similarly, the occurrence of "day" modified by a numeral (e.g., "third" day) is a construction
occurring more than a hundred times in the Pentateuch alone, always with the literal meaning.
Even though it may challenge our minds to visualize the lands and seas, and all plants,
were being formed in one literal day, that is exactly what the Bible says!
We are not justified at all either in questioning God's power to do this or His veracity
in telling us that He did.
Genesis 1:14-19: "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 two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night:
he made the stars also.
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 all that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day."
On the first day of creation, God created in energized the entire universe,
the infinite sphere of divine activity and purpose.
On the second day, He made the primeval hydrosphere and atmosphere
for the terrestrial sphere.
Finally, on the fourth day, He made the astro-sphere, the "celestial sphere"
of the stars and planets surrounding and illuminating the terrestrial sphere.
On the first day, He had said: "Let there be light!" (Hebrew or).
On the fourth day, He said: Let there be lights" (or light-givers, Hebrew ma-or).
Intrinsic light first, then generators of light later, is both the logical and the Biblical order.
The chief purpose of both the light of the first three days in the life-givers of all later days
was to "divide the light from the darkness" (verses 4, 18), and this can only mean
that the two regimes were essentially identical.
In other words, light rays were impinging on the earth as it rotated on its axis
during the first three days of essentially the same intensities and directions
as those which would later emanate from the heavenly bodies
to be emplaced on the fourth day.
Light was coming during the day as though from the sun and during the night
as though from the moon and stars, even though they have not yet been made.
If such a concept sound strains, let it be remembered that it is as easy for God
to create waves of light energy as to create generators to produce such waves.
There was no need for such generators except to serve the additional function
(after man's creation) of marking "signs and seasons, days and years."
It therefore did not take a billion years for the light from a star which is a billion light-years
distant from the earth to reach the earth after the star was created.
The light-trail from the star was created in transit, as it were, all the way
from the start of the earth, three days before the star itself was created!
As noted earlier, the universe was created "full-grown" from the beginning;
God did not require millions of years to develop it into its intended usable form.
The purpose of the heavenly bodies was "to give light upon the earth";
so this is what they did, right from the beginning.
Some have objected to this concept on the basis of evolutionary changes supposedly
taking place in the stars.
The fact is, however, no one has ever observed such changes taking place.
The lights were set in "the firmament of heaven," but this was not the same firmament
as formed on the second day.
The latter is the "open firmament of heaven" where birds were to fly (verse 20)
As noted earlier, the term "firmament" may apply to any particular region of space,
as determined by context.
In verse 8, we were told that "God called the firmament Heaven."
Evidently "firmament" is the common term and "heaven" is the formal name
for any firmament (or space) which has been designated as a particular spirit
of God's created or purposive activity.
The fact that both sun and moon are called "light-givers" does not suggest
that they are of the same substance.
One actually generates light, whereas the other only reflects light.
But both "give light" as far as their functions relative to the earth are concerned.
It is interesting that the stars are mentioned as of only minor importance relative
to the sun and moon.
"He made the stars also."
Even though stars are incomparably bigger than the earth, and many of them
even larger than our sun, they are of much simpler structure from the earth.
The star is mostly hydrogen and helium, essentially quite simple;
whereas the structure of the earth is a great complexity, perfectly and uniquely designed
for living creatures.
Complexity and organization are much more meaningful measures of significance
than mere size.
There is no need to try to correlate the simple record of the making of the stars
with various modern theories of stellar and galactic evolution.
No one has ever seen a star or galaxy evolve, or change at all.
Since the heavenly bodies were to be used to denote the "seasons"
(as well as "days and years"), it is obvious that there were to be distinct seasons
through the year, and this implies that the earth's axis was inclined as it is at present.
The use of the stars also "for signs" is somewhat more uncertain in meaning.
Although various suggestions have been made, the most natural interpretation is
that this term has reference to various star groupings which would serve both
for easy visual recognition of the advancing days and years and also, by extension,
for tokens of the advancing stages of God's purpose in creation.
The phrase "and it was so" occurs in this passage for the fourth time
(out of six) in Genesis 1 (verses 7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30).
The account stresses that what God says, He also does.
The phrase "and God said" occurs 10 times (versus 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29).
The first seven of these were each followed by creative command beginning
with the imperative word "Let…!"
Finally, the work of this fourth day of creation was also summarized by an assertion
that God saw it all to be "good."
There was at that time nothing on any of the stars, planets, satellites,
or any other heavenly body that was out of place or indicative of conflict
or catastrophe in anyway.
Having made the atmosphere and hydrosphere on the second day, and then the lithosphere
and biosphere on the third day, God next proceeded to make animal life
for the atmosphere and hydrosphere on the fifth day, and then animal life for the lithosphere
and biosphere on the sixth day.
All the necessities for living creatures were present on the earth by this time:
light, air, water, soil, chemicals, plants, fruits, and so forth.
One deficiency yet remained -- the earth was still "void" of inhabitants.
However, God had "formed it to be inhabited" (Isaiah 45:18); and the fifth and sixth days
were to be devoted to this final work of creation.
Genesis 1:20-23: "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature
that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth,
which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and winged it every winged fowl
after his 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 the evening and the morning were the fifth day."
The first introduction of animal life was not a fragile blob of protoplasm that happen
to come together in response to electrical discharges over a primeval ocean
as evolutionists believe.
Rather, the waters suddenly swarmed abundantly with swarming creatures
(the waters did not "bring forth," as mistranslated in the Authorized Version).
The Hebrew word sherets, which is rendered by "moving creature" in the Authorized Version,
is actually translated "creeping thing" in the 11 other places where it occurs.
It seems to be essentially synonymous with remes, which is also translated
"creeping thing" (Genesis 1:24, etc.).
As used in Genesis 1:20, however, it evidently refers to all kinds of marine animals:
invertebrates, vertebrates, and reptiles.
The word "life" occurs for the first time in this verse (Hebrew,nephesh).
Actually, this is the word also for "soul."
And this is frequently used to refer to both the soul of man and the life of animals.
In the Biblical sense, plants do not have real life, or soul (or consciousness);
but both animals and man do.
Along with animals for the water sphere, there also appeared animals for the air sphere:
birds to fly in, literally, the "face of the firmament of heaven."
The word translated "open" in the King James is pene, and can carry the meaning "face of,"
Thus it is reasonable to understand the phrase "firmament of heaven" in this verse
to apply to both the troposphere (the lower region of the atmosphere) and the stratosphere.
Birds fly only in the lower region -- the "face" of the firmament.
Animal life is not simply "brought forth" from the earth or water, as was true for plant life.
The principle of consciousness was not capable of development merely by complex organization
of the basic physical elements; and so it required a new creation.
God had created the physical elements of the universe on the first day and here He performed
His second act of true creation.
"God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth."
The "living creature" is the same as the "living soul," so that this act of creation
can be understood as the creation of the entity of conscious life which would henceforth
be an integral part of every animate being, including man.
The first animals specifically mentioned as the product of this act of creation
were the "great whales," or "great sea-monsters," has most translations render
the Hebrew word tannin.
It is significant, however, that this same word is most frequently translated "dragon."
Evidently the term includes all sea-creatures, even the monsters of the past
that are now extinct.
Most probably they represent memories of dinosaurs handed down by tribal ancestors
who encountered them before they became extinct.
The types of animals mentioned in this passage are apparently intended to include
every inhabitant of the waters and atmosphere.
Furthermore, its was to reproduce after its own kind.
The DNA for each kind is programmed to allow for wide individual variations within the kind,
but not beyond the structure of the kind itself.
In this case, God not only declared that His work was good, but also pronounce a blessing
on the animals he had created.
Though not an object of God's love as man would be, nevertheless animals are objects
of His care and concern.
Not even a sparrow would ever fall to the ground without His noticing
and caring(Matthew 10:29), and He continually provides food for them (Matthew 6:26).
The blessing included both a command and a provision for the continued multiplication
of the animals
He had created, so that they would soon occupy all parts of the world.
It is interesting that a similar command was given later to the animals emerging
from the ark after the Flood (Genesis 8:17).
Once again it is obvious that the orthodox evolutionary order is not the same
as the order of creation recorded here in Genesis.
The evolutionary theory says that marine organisms evolved first, then land plants, later birds.
Genesis says that land plants came first, then marine creatures and birds simultaneously.
Furthermore, if anything, the largest sea animals were the first, again contrary
to evolutionary theory.
Genesis 1:24, 25: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature
after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind:
and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind,
and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good."
After the creation of animal life, and its impartation to air and water creatures on the fifth day,
only one day of divine work remained.
Animals must be formed for the land surfaces -- the lithsphere and biosphere.
After the creation of animal life, and it's impartation to air and water creatures on the fifth day,
only one day of divine work remained.
Animals must be formed for the land surfaces -- the lithosphere and biosphere.
Notice that the record says that God "made" (Hebrew asah) these land animals;
whereas He was said to have "created" (bara) the air and sea animals.
It would seem, if anything, that the land animals were of a higher order than the others
and therefore they should have taken a higher category of divine activity.
The reason for this apparent anomaly undoubtedly is that the act of creation (verse 21)
was that of "every living soul," not only of sea and air creatures.
Since this "soul" principle was created on the fifth day, there was no need to mention it
again on the six day.
The formation of land creatures merely involved new types of organization of materials |
already in existence, including the nephesh as well as the physical elements.
There was no intrinsic difference in the actual "making" of land animals from that
of the marine animals or, for that matter, of the making of plants.
All involved same fundamental biochemical structure and reproductive mechanisms.
The land animals made during the early part of the six day are categorized as "cattle,
creeping things, and beasts of the earth" refers to large wild animals, and "creeping things"
refers to all animals that crawl or creep close to the surface of the ground.
This classification has no correlation with the arbitrary system of man-made taxonomy
(amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects), but is a more natural system based
on the relation of the animals to the interest of man.
So the term "beasts of the earth" includes the large mammals such as lions and elephants,
and probably also the largest extinct reptiles known as dinosaurs.
"Creeping things" includes the insects and smaller reptiles, and probably also almost amphibians
and many small mammals (e.g., moles, rats; note Leviticus 11:29-31).
All three categories of land animals were made simultaneously, as is evident
from the inverted order
of listing as in verses 24 and 25.
Once again, it is obvious that there is not the slightest correlation with the imaginary
evolutionary order (that is, insects, then amphibians, then reptiles, then all mammals).
As a matter of fact, evolution places insects, amphibians, and land reptiles
all before the birds that Genesis says were made the day before.
There was no all evolutionary struggle for existence among these animals either,
for "God saw that it was good."
Neither could one kind involved into a different kind, because God made each
category "after his kind."
All these land animals were said to have been "brought forth" from the earth, or ground.
That is, their bodies were composed of the same elements as the earth;
and when they died, they would go back to the earth.
They also all had "soul" because they were said to be "living creatures" (nephesh again).
In this respect, they were like air and water animals (Genesis 1:21) and also like man
The Completed Creation
The world was now fully prepared for its human inhabitants, who would be given
dominion over it.
God did not need 5 billion years to prepare for man, as theistic evolutionists seem to think.
In fact, He did not even need the six days that He took!
The reasons for taking six days apparently were, first, to stress the orderly
and logical relationships between the different components of the creation
and, second, to provide a divine pattern for man's six-day work week.
A regular day of rest and special fellowship with God would be the essential
for the good of man,
and God's example would be the best pattern and incentive for man to keep such a day.
Actually the formation of the land animals mus have taken only a small portion of the six day.
The second chapter of Genesis describes in fuller detail the rest of the events of the six day,
events which are only briefly outlined here in the first chapter.
Genesis 1:26, 27: "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing
that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them."
A most intriguing picture appears in the opening verse of this section.
Whereas previous acts of God have followed immediately this phrase
"And God said, Let there be…," in this verse God speaks, as it were, to Himself:
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
He was not speaking to the angels, because man was not going to be made
in the likeness of angels but in the likeness of God.
Thus God could only have been speaking to Himself; one member of the uni-plural Godhead
was addressing another member or members.
This fascinating type of exchange within the Godhead appears in a number
of other places in the Old Testament.
Such as Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 48:16; Psalm 110:1).
Also in the New Testament, such fellowship between Christ (before His human birth)
and the Father is noted
in such passages as Matthew 11:27; John 8:42; John 17:24; and others.
The divine councils centering on men had first taken place long before the beginning of time
(whatever is involved in the concept of "before time").
The Lamb had, in the determination of these councils, been slain before the foundation
of the world; the names of the redeemed had been written in His book of life
before the foundation of the world; and God had called those who were to be saved
by His grace, before the world began. (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 17:8; 2 Timothy 1:9)
On this six day, another such council took place, and the ancient plan
was now formally announced, recorded, and implemented.
The highest, most complex of all creatures was to be made by God and then was
to be given dominion over all the rest -- all the animals of the sea, air, and land.
Man's body would be formed in the same way as the bodies of the animals
had been formed. (Genesis 1:27; 2:7)
Similarly, man would have the "breath of life" like animals (Genesis 1:24; 2:7; 7:22),
and even have the "living soul" like animals (Genesis 124; 2:7).
Thus, though the structure of man, both physical and mental, would be far more complex
than that of the animals, it would be of the same basic essence;
therefore God proposed to "make [Hebrew asah] man in our image."
And yet man was to be more than simply a very complex and highly organized animal.
There was to be something in man which was not only quantitatively greater,
but qualitatively distinctive, something not possessed in any degree by the animals.
Man was to be in the image and likeness of God Himself!
Therefore, he was also "created" (bara) in God's image.
He was both made and created in the image of God.
This is a profound and mysterious truth, impossible to fully comprehend;
therefore it is not surprising there has been much difference of opinion about its meaning.
It is not sufficient merely to say that man was given a spirit, as well as a soul,
in the Old Testament is the Hebrew ruach, which is also commonly translated
"wind" and "breath."
As such, the "breath of life" (or, literally, "spirit of lives") is a possession
of animals as well as man.
If, however, the term is used to define that aspect of man which is like God
("the likeness of God") -- and eternal spirit, possessed of esthetic, moral,
spiritual attributes -- then it may be a proper statement, at least in part.
The spirit of man, like the angelic and demonic spirits, and like God Himself, is
an eternal spirit; whereas the spirit of an animal ceases to exist when the body dies
(Ecclesiastes 3:21, and goes back to the earth.
In any case, there can be little doubt that the "image of God" in which man was created
must entail those aspects of human nature which are not shared by animals
-- attributes such as a moral consciousness, the ability to think abstractly,
and understanding of beauty and emotion, and, above all, the capacity
for worshiping and loving God.
This eternal and divine dimension of the being of man must be the essence
of what is involved in the likeness of God.
And since none of this was a part of the animal nephesh, the "soul,"
it required a new creation.
However, this does not exhaust the meaning.
We must also deal with the fact that man was made in the image of God as well.
That component of man which was "made" was his body and soul.
In some sense, therefore, even man's body is in God's image in a way not true of animals.
God in His omnipresence is not corporeal, however, but is Spirit (John 4:24);
so how could man's body be made in God's image?
We can only say that, although God Himself may have no physical body, He designed
and formed man's body to enable it to function physically in ways in which
He Himself could function
even without a body.
God can see. (Genesis 16:13)
God can hear. (Psalm 94:9)
God can smell. (Genesis 8:21)
God can touch. (Genesis 32:32)
God can speak. (2 Peter 1:18)
Whether or not He has actual physical eyes, ears, nose, hands, and mouth,
God has all these functions.
Furthermore, whenever He has designed to appear visibly to men He has done so
in the form of a human body. (Genesis 18:1, 2)
The same is true of angels. (Acts 15:18)
God must have designed the body of man with this in mind.
Accordingly, He has designed it, not like the animals, but with an erect posture,
with an upward gazing countenance, capable of facial expressions corresponding
to emotional feelings, and with a brain and tongue capable of articulate, symbolic speech.
Of course He knew that in the fullness of time even He would become a man.
In that day, He would prepare a human body for His Son (Hebrews 10:5; Luke 1:35);
and it would be "made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7, just as man had been made
in the likeness of God.
Both in body and in spirit, Christ was indeed Himself the image of God
(Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4).
It does not seem too much to infer that God made man in the image of that body
which He would Himself one day assume.
In this sense, at least, it is true that, physically as well as spiritually, man was both made
and created in the image and likeness of God the Son.
We should also notice that three times it is stated that God created man in His image
(as well as making "man in our image").
Again it is appropriate to speak of God in both the singular and plural -- God is one,
and yet more than one.
There is possibly a hint in this three-fold statement (as in Genesis 1:1) that God is a trinity.
In a sense, man is also a Trinity of body, soul, and spirit.
The word "man" is actually adam, and is related to "earth" (Hebrew adamah),
since the body of man was formed from the elements of the earth. (Genesis 2:7)
We should also note that man was to have dominion not only over all animals
but also over the earth (verse 26) from which he had been formed.
Finally, it is made clear that "man" is also a generic term, including both male and female.
Both man and woman were created (the details of their physical formation is given
in Genesis 2) in God's image, and thus both possess equally an eternal spirit capable
of personal fellowship with their Creator.
Genesis 1:28-30: "And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing
that moveth upon the earth.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face
of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed;
to you it shall be for meat.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing
that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat;
and it was so."
Having created man and woman, God pronounced the blessing on them
and then gave them their basic instructions and commission.
Whether He had created more than one pair of each of the animal kinds is not stated,
although the seeming indifference (from the use of such terms as
"swarms," "abundantly," etc.) might be that many pairs were made, a fact made clear
in Genesis 2, when the details of the formation of Adam and Eve are described.
The first command given to this first man and woman was to
"be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth."
The King James translation used the term "replenish," but this does not suggest
the idea of "refilling," either the Old English term itself or the Hebrew word
from which it is translated.
The Hebrew word is male, and mean simply "fill," or "be filled."
Of the more than 300 times it is used, it is translated (in KJV) by "replenish"
only seven times; and even these could as well have been rendered "fill."
It is certainly erroneous to use this one verse as a proof text for the gap theory,
as many have done.
Man has not yet filled the earth, in accordance with God's command; nevertheless,
many people today are unduly alarmed over the soul-called population explosion,
urging government control of various sorts to slow down population growth.
We can be sure that God's command (repeated, incidentally, after the Flood) was made
in full knowledge of the earth's ability to support a large population (note Genesis 9:1),
and it has never been rescinded.
Even at the present level of man's technological knowledge, the earth could support
a much larger population
than it holds now.
Obviously, it could not continue to grow indefinitely, without limit, but God no doubt has made
adequate provision for such an eventuality.
For one thing, the Scriptures promise that Christ will return before man has completely
destroyed His world -- a prospect which, humanly speaking, seems more
of an imminent danger than overpopulation.
Another possibility is that, had not man failed his probation in Eden, he would have eventually
been allowed to colonize other planets as his population grew.
Of course, such ideals are only speculation since human populations have not yet reached
the optimal level even for our present decaying planet.
In addition to the command for procreation (and Genesis 2 makes it plain
that this was to be within the framework of monogamous marriage),
God instructed man to "subdue" the earth, and to "have dominion over… every living thing
that moveth upon the earth."
These are military terms -- first, conquer, and then rule.
In context, however, there is no actual conflict suggested, since everything God had made
was pronounced "good."
The "culture mandate," as some have called it, is clearly a very expressive figure of speech
for, first, intense study of the earth (with all of its intricate processes and complex systems)
and, then, utilization of this knowledge with the benefit of the earth's inhabitants,
both human and animal.
Here is the primeval commission to man authorizing both science and technology
as man's basic enterprises relative to the earth.
"Science" is man's discipline study and understanding of the phenomenon of his world.
"Technology" is the implementation of this knowledge in the effective ordering
and development of the earth and its resources, for the greater good of all earth's inhabitants
(including such fields of human service as engineering, agriculture, medicine,
and a host of other practical technologies).
This twofold commission to subdue and have dominion, to conquer and rule,
embraces all productive human activities.
Science and technology, research and development, theory and application, study
and practice, and so forth, are various ways of expressing these two concepts.
This command, therefore, established man as God's steward over the created world
and all things therein.
Psalm 8:6-8 says, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands;
thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas."
However, as the writer of Hebrews says, commenting on this passage:
"But now we see not yet all things put under him." (Hebrews 2:8)
The problem is, of course, that man has failed in his stewardship.
Instead of using the earth for good, under God, he has denied God and abused his stewardship.
This primeval commission has never been abrogated -- man is still under its obligations
After giving man his commission, God told him of the provisions for his most essential need
-- that of food.
Man had work to do, and would need a repeated renewal of energy to continue the work.
This was to be provided to the marvelous digestive system and internal energy
conversion apparatus designed by God as a part of man's body (as well as those of the animals).
This energy supply was to be perpetually available to the fruits and herbs
of the biosphere established by God on the third day of creation.
The supply could not be exhausted, since these plants were designed to replicate themselves
via the bearing and yielding of seed.
Furthermore, as man spread out and filled the earth, his food would be available everywhere,
"upon the face of all the earth."
There were no deserts or other uninhabitable regions.
Also the animals were to obtain their food from "every green herb," a term evidently meaning
all green plants, including grasses.
They also had work to do, under man's direction even though at this late date
(after millennia of the hearing and dreading man in a accursed world -- note Genesis 9:2)
it may be difficult or impossible to determine exactly of the original nature
or intended functions of the different kinds of animals.
It is clear from this passage that, in the original creation, it was not intended
that either man or animals should eat animal food.
As far as man was concerned, this was changed at the time of the Flood (Genesis 9:3),
as we will discuss later.
Whether some of the antediluvians ventured to do this against God's command,
we are not told, although it is a possibility.
(Jabal introduced cattle raising, Genesis 4:20).
As far as carnivorous animals are concerned, their desire for meat must also have been
a later development, either at the time of the Curse or after the Flood.
Even today, of course, such animals can and will (if they have to) live on a vegetarian diet.
The same uncertainty must prevail at this point as to have the present "balance-of-nature)
arrangements developed in various environments, whereby predators keep in check
the large numbers of lower animals that would otherwise take over.
It is at least possible that the primeval "balances" in every environment,
including the fecundity of each kind, were quite different than at present,
so that predation was neither needed nor desired.
Morris said concerning this, "The Scriptures do predict that, in the world of the future,
after Christ has returned and restored the earth in part to its primeval perfection,
there will once again no predation or struggle between animals or between animals and man.
(Note Isaiah 11:16-9; Hosea 2:18, etc.)
Genesis 1:31 says, "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
Genesis 2: 1-4 says, "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished,
and all the host of them.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested
on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested
from all his work which God created and made.
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created."
Now God had completed His work but, before settling down to "rest" in contemplation
of what He had produced.
He first surveyed it all and pronounce the whole creation to be "very good."
Six times before, He had seen that what He had made was "good";
but now that it was complete, with every part in perfect harmony with every other part,
all perfectly formed and with an abundance of inhabitants, He saw with great joy
that it was all (literally) "exceedingly good."
On each previous day, the account had concluded by saying (literally)
"the evening and the morning were a fifth day," and so on; but now it says,
"the evening and the morning were the sixth day" (the definite article occurring
for the first time in this formula), thus also stressing completion of the work.
This one verse is itself sufficient to refute any theory which tries to accommodate
the geological ages concept in the Genesis record of creation.
Everything in the universe (the next verse specifically includes all the host
of heaven in its scope) was still at this time exceedingly good, in God's own omniscient judgment.
There could have been nothing that was not good in all creation: no struggle
for existence, no disease, no pollution, no physical calamities (earthquakes, floods, etc.),
no imbalance or lack of harmony, no disorder, no sin and, above all, no death!
Even Satan was still good at this point; his rebellion and fall must have come later.
Fossils, of course, speak of death -- often of violent and sudden death.
They also speak of disease and injuries, of storms and convulsions -- in short, of a world
like the present world, "the whole creation groaneth and travileth in pain together."
Since death only "entered into the world" when sin came in through man (Romans 5:12),
and since the whole creation was very good before man sinned, it is as obvious
as anything could be that the fossil record now found in the sedimentary rocks
of the earth's crust could only have been formed after man sinned.
The fossils could not have been deposited either before the six days of creation
(as in the gap theory) or during the six days of creation (as according to the progressive
creation, day-age type of theory).
How could God have possibly looked upon a world look struggle and travail,
and looked into the rocks to see the remains of billions of dead animals
(as well as human like creatures), and then describe it all as exceedingly good?
Such a suggestion in effect makes God out to be a monster -- not the "God of all grace"
(who cares for every sparrow), not the God of love and mercy
(therefore too kind to create a world of such a process as suggested in the
geological age concept), the God of perfect wisdom (therefore certainly able to devise
a better way than that), the God of omnipotence (thus fully able
to create by such a better way), and the God of infinite order
(not the "author of confusion" and of wasted inefficiency which is implied if the fossil record
is indeed a record of prehuman earth history), as revealed in the Bible.
As we will see later, the cataclysmic events of the great Flood in the days of Noah
are quite sufficient to account for all the phenomena of the sedimentary rocks
and the fossil record.
This verse concludes the first chapter of Genesis but, this first chapter should
really not have been marked at this point, but in the middle of verse 4 of Genesis 2.
It is there that the first toledoth subscript appears: "These are the generations
of the heavens and of the earth when they were created."
It is likely that this statement represents the subscript, or signature as it were,
of the author of the section that has gone before.
In this case, since there was no human author, no man having been present
to observe the creation, no human name is attached as in the case of the other
10 "toledoths" that occur later in Genesis.
The account tells about, not the genealogical and historical records of some patriarch,
but about the "genealogy" of the universe itself.
The passage in Genesis 2:1-3 is, of course, a marvelous assertive summary
that God had not completed His work of creating and making all things.
Four times it is emphasized that God had finished His work, and three times it is emphasized
that this included all His work.
These points are stressed because it is vitally important for man to realize
that the present processes of the cosmos are not processes of creating and making,
and therefore it would forever be impossible for him to understand
about the origin of things apart from divine revelation.
The present processes of the universe are, without exception, processes
of conservation and disintegration,
as formulated in the to universal Laws of Thermodynamics.
The processes of the creation period, on the other hand, were processes of innovation
and integration (or "creating" and "making"), which are exactly opposite.
Science can deal only with present processes, to which alone it has access.
Therefore, if we really want to know anything about this creation.
(Other than the fact that there must have been such a period, to produce the universe,
a fact certainly required by the implication of the two Laws of Thermodynamics),
then such knowledge can be acquired only by divine revelation.
And that is exactly what we have here in this marvelous first chapter of Genesis,
the divinely revealed record of the creation and formation of all things:
how long it took, what the various events and divisions were, what the order
of development was, the relations of the various components, and all the other data
which man could never be able to determine for himself through his own scientific observations.
This completion of God's work of creation is also stressed in the New Testament.
(Hebrews 4:3, 4, 10; 11:3; Ephesians 3:9; etc.)
The "host of heaven" mentioned in Genesis 2:1 refers primarily to the stars
(Deuteronomy 4:19; Nehemiah 9:6; Jeremiah 33:22; etc.), but may well refer also
to the angels (1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 18:18; Luke 2:13; etc.), whose sphere of residence
and reference may possibly be the stars.
The fact that the seventh day is not formally summarized as are the other six days
at the end of each day certainly does not mean that the seventh day is still continuing,
as some day-age advocates have suggested.
The Scripture does not say, "He is resting on the seventh day,"
but rather, "He rested on the seventh day."
Exodus 31:17 even says that "on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."
Though His great work of creation was finished, He very soon had to undertake
the great work of redemption. (John 4:34; 5:17; etc.)
Finally, even that work was finished (John 17:4), when the Son of God, the Redeemer,
on the cross shouted the mighty cry of victory: "It is finished!"
Then, once again, God rested on the Sabbath Day, in Joseph's tomb, until the dawning
of the first day
of the new week, and new age.
This concludes The Six Days of Creation (Genesis 1:3 -- 2:3)
Next The Creation of Man (Genesis 2)