Monday, May 17, 2010

Genesis 1:1-8

Genesis 1:1-2 (NASB) – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  2 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.

It is an axiomatic truth that God has always existed and was there in the beginning.  Since God was the only One in existence ‘in the beginning’, who better to trust for a record of what occurred but God Himself?

The state of the earth was “formless and void” – this means “not finished in its shape”; uninhabited by creatures.  God will now quickly (in 6 days) adorn His initial creation.  It basically means that the earth was like a giant ball of potter’s clay.

Genesis 1:3 (NASB) - Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Now this is important because here we have the creation of light, but what is displaying the light?  Other than God Himself.  There is no origin for the light.  See this, the earth is dark and void and formless  but God is the light and He chooses to let His light illuminate the earth.  He speaks that His light shine on the earth.  I think this goes beyond merely bringing illumination to the planet and goes far deeper to the fact that God chooses where to allow light and where to allow darkness, all the while keeping in our mind that the light is GREATER than the darkness.

God doesn’t even create the sun or the moon until verse 14.

God creates the light and the light removes the darkness… There’s a picture of the Gospel for you, In John 8:12 – Jesus calls Himself “the light of the world”.  Jesus, being the light, removes the darkness of sin in our hearts so that we may walk in what?  The light!

Elsewhere in scripture God refers to Himself as the light.

Psalm 104:2 (NASB) - Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.

Genesis 1:4 (NASB) - God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

Anytime the word “good” is used it means ‘good for the purpose for which it was created’.  Just like a flathead screwdriver is ‘good’ for the purpose it was made.  A Phillips head can’t turn a flat head screw.

So the light and darkness He had created for His purposes and after examining it God declared it to be good—a powerful term of God’s blessing.  For God to call it good, you can be assured, it WAS.

Genesis 1:5 (NASB) - God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

After the initial creation, God continued to complete His universe.  Once God separated certain things and He named them.  Separating and naming them were acts of dominion and will serve as a pattern for man in a few verses because Adam will name some of God’s creation. 

Here we get to the meaty portion of knowing that the world was created in 6 literal days. 

The Hebrew word used here for day is yom.

You are probably familiar with this Hebrew word if you’ve heard of the Jewish holiday “Yom Kippur”, etc…

One thing you’ll learn the more you study scripture, particularly studying the original languages, and that is that Hebrew and Greek are extremely passionate languages and the English language is not.  In that light, the Hebrew word ‘yom’ or ‘day’ can mean 3 things.

1.)    The light portion of a 24 hour period (daytime) as in Genesis 1:5;14.

2.)    An extended period of time – Genesis 2:4

3.)    The 24 hour period which basically refers to a full rotation of the earth on its axis, called evening and morning.  The Jews counted a day from sunrise to sunrise.  Rather than starting at midnight the way we do.  However, their hours were the same.  1 hour = 60 minutes, etc…

So their day would have started around 5am-6am.

The question then becomes, which use of the word ‘day’ is used here, and how do we know which one it is?

Anytime in the OT you see the word ‘day’ (yom) used with a numerical adjective.  It means 24 hour period.

Always! Everytime! Without fail!

Notice the difference between Genesis 1:5 and the often misunderstood 2 Peter 3:8.

2 Peter 3:8 - But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

Here Peter uses the Greek word hemai, which merely meant time as an era.  Not necessarily a literal day.

It means that God is outside of time.  He sees the whole of time, from beginning to end all at once.  We see our little piece of the puzzle, God sees the completed work.  If you read on to verse 9 you see Peter explain further.  2 Peter 3:9 (NASB) - The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

What’s Peter saying in that passage?  That God is patient, and we should be thankful for that patience.  He’s saying, don’t think that just because God hasn’t erased you over your sin that He has somehow forgotten about it.  He hasn’t, but His loving-kindness and patience directs Him to show you grace so that you have an opportunity to repent and trust Jesus.

Also, note the difference in the way Peter phrases it.  A day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.  Its an analogy.

The reason that secular dating methods such as carbon dating are so poor and inaccurate is because they fail to recognize that God put them on the earth and created them fully formed.  Perfect.  Adam wasn’t an infant, trees weren’t saplings, and mighty oceans weren’t small streams.

Outside of Genesis 1 the word day (yom) is used 410 times with a numerical reference and every time it is referring to a literal day.

Have you ever stopped to think about why it is that non-Christians attack the meaning of the days of creation and no other place where day is used the same way?  No one questions how long Joshua walked around Jericho (7 days), or how long Jonah was in the belly of the whale (3 days).

Genesis 1:6-8 (NASB) - Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”  7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.  8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

So if you’ve been drawing this mental picture of creation so far then you have the earth created.  Just a globe covered in water and space pushed right up to the surface of the waters.  No sky as we know it, clouds, etc. 
Now God speaks again “Let there be…” God creates the sky and what we see as atmosphere.  But look carefully… what does it say happens here?  Separating what?  Separates the waters from the waters.

So now we have water as we know it and apparently waters above the earth.  This seems to be a vaporous blanket covering the earth.  We would probably call it the Ozone layer.  This upper layer of water also plays a part in the Flood that God sends in Genesis 7.  God opens up the skies and pours out this water.

As much as we need to solidify the facts surrounding creation and we are going to get very practical with our study in that we’re going to look at physical evidences of Biblical creation, flood, etc…

But as much as all that we need to see the pictures of the Gospel found in all these different texts. 

Why is that important?  Because that’s the goal of the whole Bible, to Glorify God for ALL His works.

Look at the formless and void earth.  The Hebrew language used to talk about it was equal with talking about an unformed lump of potter’s clay.  Until God intervenes, speaks, its nothing.  Formless.  Void.

Can I submit that possibly the most powerful picture of what happens to us at conversion is found there.  In what He does to the heart of a sinner when He redeems them for His glory.

Look at Isaiah 64:7-8 (NASB) - There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.  8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter;

We are helpless prior to conversion… but GOD speaks to us and calls us out of the darkness so that we might be SAVED!  From my favorite Hymn, 'All hail the power of Jesus' name, let angels prostrate fall, bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all!'

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