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"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).
The writer does not accept the common teaching of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. I believe in another theory called the Gap Theory. The creation of Genesis 1:1 was not the same creation in Genesis 1:3. I believe that the conditions listed here were the result of Lucifer and angels who followed him into the casting down from heaven of the participants.
The commentary will be directed toward these beliefs and the Bible will be the main source of information used. I must add right here that the idea of commenting on the Bible is awe-inspiring. In actual fact, the Bible comments upon itself and it would be presumptuous of me to try to help the Bible to say what it says. My goal is to comment on some ideas that will be helpful in understanding the flow of the Word of God, the harmony of its many teachings, particularly on the things it says about our common beginnings. God certainly does not need my help in the Scriptures, buy my prayer is that some of the thoughts that will be presented will be helpful to some who would search the riches of the Scriptures on these matters.
A literal translation of this verse begins with "In beginning." The article "the" is not in the Hebrew. This is partially due to the fact that the addition of the article is a way of bringing the thought of the Hebrew into the English. The two languages are constructed differently and to smooth out the transition from one language to another some things are added or taken away to have the same basic thought in both languages.
There is, however, a different thought that should be considered as well. When Moses spoke of beginning here, there was only one beginning he could have listed. Simply put, there was only one beginning. Before Genesis 1:1, God existed and God only. There were not several beginnings. In that one and only beginning, God created. Had there been other beginnings God wanted us to consider, and then Moses would have been inspired to point to that specific beginning God wanted him to discuss in this context.
The word translated "beginning" here is significant. It has the idea of the firstling, the very first of things. The thought is that in the beginning, and it was an unprecedented beginning, something took place that had never been before. It is difficult to put the whole of the thought into words without being redundant. God inspired Moses to write in words that draw a line between what existed before this, only Himself, and those things that existed afterwards. Before this, nothing existed other than God Himself. No, not angels, demons, plant life, animal life, nothing existed but God.
The word translated God here is "Elohim." It is most often translated into the English as God. There are a few instances where it is "angels." Sometimes it is "gods" referring to idols and false gods. Almost without exception, especially in the Old Testament when the letters "el" begin or end a word, this is a reference to God. Names had meaning in the Old Testament. Elijah means My God is Jehovah. Elisha means My God is Salvation. Daniel means My God is Judge. The word "Bethel" is seen often in the Old and New Testament and means "House of God."
The word, "elohim" means "strong ones." It is a plural word, referring to more than two. This is a teaching of the Trinity, at least three "strong ones," God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit." God is omnipotent, meaning, "all-powerful." There is no power that equals God's, thus, Elohim recognizes this characteristic of God. It is important that we come to the realization that God and only God has powers to create. Often we hear someone praised for their creative talents, but in actual fact, only God can create. We have many who are capable of taking something that appears to have no value and making from it a thing of beauty or desirability. That is not creating, it is making. This is an important distinction to remember as we go along in this study; it will be discussed more and more.
The Biblical account of creation is undoubtedly the most controversial issue in the Bible over the past 125 to 150 years. Men generally doubt the Bible based on their feeling that a creation as taught in Genesis is impossible. Also, the Genesis account covers events that had their beginning about 6,000 years ago and there have been many things "proven" to be more than 6,000 years old. A much more detailed discussion of this will be done later in this commentary.
The practice of this commentary will be to list the Hebrew and Greek words only when it is felt they are needed to make the point needed. I will begin with the word translated "created." The Hebrew word is "bara." "Bara" carries the idea that God brought into existence something that had not existed prior to that moment. A good way of stating this would be that He, from His own essence spoke and a new form came into being. In Genesis 1:7, the statement is made that He "made" and that word in Hebrew is "assah." It has the implication that a new thing was made from something that already existed. In other places, the Hebrew word, "yasar" is used. It's meaning is the idea of not only making something from pre-existing matter, but to fashion, or to form somewhat like an artist, or like a potter fashions clay.
It is not possible to read Genesis and get a complete, or even partial picture of what the Bible has to say of the works of God. The Bible must be studied as one work, not sixty-six little books. The Bible, while written by about thirty-nine or forty writers, is God's Word and it all must be taken into account. Now, in Genesis, we learn that God created the heavens and the earth, that is beyond question. What did God use in this act of creation? Let us seek an answer, at least a partial answer to that question. It is a reasonable question and God did provide us an answer in Psalms 33:6-9,
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
The fact is that God not only created the world, He laid out the foundation Himself. Psalms 104:5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. It is foolish of "educated" men to try to explain that this creation is the result of a series of timely accidents. It just doesn't make sense that an atom could become attracted to another atom, then these atoms join with others in a sequence that left them floating in a perfect orbit around the sun with the moon in an orbit around the earth and thus, the sun in such a well orchestrated fashion. No, this was not what happened. Genesis 1:1 gives us the description of the true events.
Genesis 1:1 says that God was the creator and, certainly we will not try to change that in any way. To do so would violate the principles of Bible interpretation just as seriously as those who deny it. However, let us look at an interesting fact of that creation. God, as we said earlier is translated from the word Elohim, which refers to a triune, or a plural look at the Godhead. We say that God is a Trinity; He is Deity. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So, now let us appeal to Scripture for the participants in creation. God and God alone created the heavens and the earth, yet all three of His manifestations were involved in it.
Colossians 1:16,17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Jesus is the "Him" referred to in this passage. While He limited Himself to a great degree while in His personal ministry here on earth, His powers are beyond our wildest imagination. God, the Son of God, later to become God in flesh, was the one who physically performed the acts of creation. He took the ideas and plans that God the Father thought up, drew up, so to speak and physically put them into being.
God the Father, God the Son were in the creation, where does the Holy Spirit fit in this? He is the life giver in the holy Trinity. It was He who conceived Jesus in the womb of the virgin Mary. It is He who gives Spiritual eternal life to the lost sinner when he accepts Christ as personal Savior. So, we have the whole of the Trinity of God deeply and intimately involved in the creation.
It is important for us to see the way God went about the creation. This was no helter-skelter mishmash of throwing things into existence just to see what they looked like. This is about the way the evolutionists would have us believe this universe became what it did.
The order was explicit. He first created the heavens and then the earth. No, this was no gathering together of magnetized atoms in some random fashion, it was placed in a specific place at the right time, and it was His plan. The evolutionist’s ideas would be rather comical if men would simply look at the utter lack of order it suggests. Isn't it rather difficult to really believe that these events just happened at such opportune times? I find that it would take much more faith in a bunch of accidents than it takes to believe and accept that the God of heaven could simply speak and these events come to be. There can be no other explanation that makes logic work out on it. That series of accidents simply doesn't work out, and to believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient enough to know where to put every piece to harmonize with every other piece is much easier.
I have one question for evolutionists and I have never seen a response to this one: Where did those two atoms that were first attracted to each other get their start, where did they come from. That question, at least for me, makes their theories just that, theories with no believable evidence of validity.
What about the things that brought on the "Big Bang?" Where did they come from? An explosion of that magnitude would have to have a substantial amount of "matter" involved, plus some kind of trigger mechanism to cause this matter to explode so violently as is suggested. Did the matter come from nothing, if so, how. If not, explain its beginning or origin.
To accept God as perfect in all His ways and then state that a magnetized attraction of two atoms, or a violent explosion of matter caused this to begin simply is not harmony. God is orderly and organized in everything He does. There is no luck, there are no accidents, at least until sinful man began to mess things up, so this thinking does not work out with the facts we have available to us.
If we will carefully look at the creation account, we see the orderliness of God. There had to be a beginning point, what better than this? The sun rides around in the heavens that God created. It provides light and heat. We know by Scriptures that God is the true light, but He chose the sun to do this work for Him. God uses gravity to hold things in place. It is not a coincidence that the earth revolves in such an exact orbit around the sun, nor that the moon orbits in a systematic orbit around the earth. No, these things fit in their place because an orderly God chose this way for things to be done.
Another question that comes to mind in regard to the idea that a series of fortunate accidents took place is "What would keep these 'accidents' from continuing"? If the symmetry of this universe just happened in a series of chance happenings, can we also expect a series of accidents to cause it to fall apart? Is this evolution idea completed, or will it continue. If we read and depend upon God's Word, we find that He has some future plans for it, based upon man's response to His will. The answer is that when this world, as we know it, comes to an end, it will be at the hand of God. It will not be a nuclear holocaust, it will not be an accident, and it will not be a quirk of nature. God will rain fire down from heaven.
I have heard people talk in worried tones about a great disaster that may be in the future that will destroy the world. That does not bother me in the least. God will destroy the world, not man. It will be the result of His power, not mans.
In subsequent chapters, we will continue to view this systematic creation with the idea that God did these things so that His chosen vessel man would his needs met and his existence made possible.
"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" (Genesis 1:2).
This verse brings us to a place where much controversy becomes a probability. I hasten here to restate the premise for our understanding of God. He is perfect. He is without the ability to do anything less than perfect. There are no degrees of perfection. There can be no possibility of God creating something "more" or "less" perfect. It is either perfect or it is not, there is no almost perfect, somewhat perfect, or perfect and more.
Now, we see that God, just reading verse 2 in Genesis 1 created something that is not perfect. It is said to be "without form and void." I fully accept and understand that God can do anything He has not stated He couldn't do. He very well could have created the universe without form and void, but that simply belies Him.
That same creation, taken without other considerations, was left in total darkness. Again, since God is light, this just doesn't harmonize with what we know of God. So, to try to under-stand that God, the very essence of perfection creating a vast universe that is very far from perfection is not consistent with Scriptural evidence we have about God.
The Hebrew language does not have the "being" form of the verb. The word translated "was" here is "hayitha." It comes from the root word, "haya." That word is used in Genesis 2:7 where the rendering is that "man became a living soul." The Hebrew Lexicon defines the word as "became" also. With this in view, then we need to state verse 2 to read "And the earth became without form and void." No, it was not created that way; it became that way as the result of some event. We will look for an answer to this puzzle a little later.
The Hebrew word used for "without form" is "tohu" and this really is the best definition for that word. It has the idea of God having created something that was nothing, waste; emptiness is most difficult to believe.
The Hebrew word, "bohu" means waste and emptiness, and void is the best English word we have to use here. In Genesis 1:1, we saw that the word, "create" gave us the idea that God created, took from Himself, from His own essence and spoke to create the world. He put into being something that had never had existence before and that it was His own essence.
Genesis 1:2 further states that "darkness was upon the face of the waters." Again, when looking at the Hebrew word, we find that the darkness discussed in this context has the idea of a total lack of light. The same word is used in Exodus to describe one of the ten plagues upon Egypt. It is a darkness that can be felt; a darkness that light cannot penetrate. God is the light; He did not create the heavens and the earth in darkness.
With this further verification of the lack of usefulness associated with this description of Genesis 1:2, we will now appeal to some additional passages for help in reaching a reasonable conclusion of this discussion. While acknowledging fully the power of God to do whatever He chooses to do, He also reveals to us in His word those things to help steer us to a harmonious conclusion to most, if not all issues. The question here would be "Did God create something that could not support life or not?"
Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
The answer to the question seems to be clear and positive in this verse. God did not create the heavens and the earth void. We saw that the word "tohu" was used in Genesis 1:2 to state the world became void. That same word is used in Isaiah 45:18, let me call your attention to the latter portion of that verse. "...he created it not in vain..." He created it NOT TOHU. That being the case, then the world BECAME tohu.
With the evidence just presented, and other passages, I am ready to reject the idea that God created the heavens and the earth without form and void. Why then, do we find such a condition in existence? I am firmly convinced that there are two passages of Scripture that give us a very clear picture of the events that caused Genesis 1:2. One of those is Ezekiel 28:1-19. The other is Isaiah 14:12-17. This is quoted here:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the prisoners?
Lucifer was an angel with apparent archangel authority. While the Scriptures call only Michael an archangel, it appears that Lucifer and Gabriel had similar positions in the heavens. Michael had authority over the spirit realm, Gabriel over the intellect or informational realm, and Lucifer over the material realm. It is evident that Lucifer was a creature of magnificent beauty. He undoubtedly was the most beautiful of all the spirit-realm. He also realized this and reveled in that beauty. His ego and pride sought even "greater" things for himself. He made the statements listed in Isaiah 14 from a position of pride and arrogance. Note carefully the five statements beginning "I will." This is the key to understanding what caused the conditions listed in Genesis 1:2.
This statement, "I will be like the most high," would better be rendered "I will replace the most high." No, it was not enough for him to be like God, Lucifer wanted to be God. It seems that he observed the role that the Son played in God's plan and chose to do whatever he could do to take the place of the Son. He realized that the Son would always be God's favorite and that he, the created being could never become God, but he did everything he could to disrupt that plan.
It is somewhat amazing to study this thing and realize that man, especially in our culture today loves the winner. Some claim to support the underdog, but in reality this is rare. So, with that thought in mind, isn't it surprising to see how easily Satan can win people over when he is the biggest loser of all ages? As a result of his "I will" in Isaiah 14, he was cast out of heaven and the realm he was responsible for was destroyed. He tried to become God and was cast out because of that. The resulting impact on the creation, along with the fact that Satan probably threw the greatest temper tantrum of all ages caused the conditions shown in Genesis 1:2. I am convinced that he destroyed the parts that were left intact, if any, just to keep God's plan for His Son and mankind from coming to be. He failed.
As a matter of fact, he failed several more times to achieve this very task. In the garden, he enticed Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He appealed to her in the three ways that separate men from God even today, lust of the eye, "it looks good,” lust of the flesh, "it was good for food," and pride of life, "it will make you like gods, you will know good and evil." In other words, he convinced the woman she would not need God. Ultimately, he was convinced that God would kill them, and the line to Jesus would be cut off. He enticed and enraged Cain to the point that he killed his brother. Satan used this to cut off the line. He, I am sure, felt that Adam would kill Cain in retaliation and this would stop the line to Christ. Seth was born and that took care of that.
At the time of Noah, God repented that He had created man to reach the point of sinfulness he came to. Satan again thought he had been able to put a stop to this by God's resolve to destroy mankind and what he had come to. Again, God had a plan that overcame Satan.
At the time of the birth of Jesus, Satan had been able to use King Herod to have a decree go out that all male children of Israel under two years of age would be killed to destroy this "King of the Jews" Herod wanted to stop. Instead, the Son was taken to the safety of Egypt. Again, Satan was the loser.
Oh, but then came the Cross. I can imagine the glee and the great rejoicing that must have gone on with Satan when Jesus died on Calvary that dark, terrible day. Surely, he must have danced the jig of victory; he had to have felt that at long last he had cut off the Son from the plan God had laid out for Him. I can also see the dance come to an abrupt end when Jesus came from the tomb. Satan must have realized that he was finally and forever doomed to failure. Could there be any way he could not realize this?
Can't you see the utter look of dejection when Jesus uttered the words of Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. With His resurrection, whatever claims and control Satan had over hell and death were forever removed from him. Jesus had taken them from him and they were never more to be Satan’s to control.
So, in this brief view of Lucifer, Satan and their treatment at the hands of the Omnipotent God, isn't it a little difficult to understand why so many of the human race are so easily drawn to this loser? He has never won in any contest he has had with God, yet people follow him readily. We are a strange beast aren't we?
So, now we have what I believe to be the Biblical answer to the puzzle created by the description of a creation that was without form and void with darkness upon it. The God we know is perfection in its highest sense. He did not; He could not create something that was without form and void, with darkness upon it. No, the rebellion of Lucifer and a third of the angels of heaven brought their casting down out of heaven. This in itself caused a great amount of destruction. Then, in his savage reaction to his defeat, Lucifer went about a raging destructive tantrum. This caused the "without form and void" conditions shown in Genesis 1:2.
Presented by Brother Jeff Barron, pastor of Edgewood Missionary Baptist Church, Danville, Georgia, at the Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association Meeting hosted by Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, Lakewood, CO on August 10, 2012.
Presented by Brother Jim Brasseal at the Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association Meeting hosted by Bradley Road Missionary Baptist Church, Colorado Springs, CO on August 8, 2014.
Presented by Brother Jim Brasseal at the Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association Meeting hosted by Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, Lakewood, CO on August 10, 2012.
Presented by Brother Jim Brasseal at the Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association Meeting hosted by Salt Valley Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, Clearfield, Utah on August 13, 2011.
Written by Brother Jim Brasseal and answers the question “Can we love the sinner and hate the sin?”
Written by Brother Jeffery Barron and details the Old and New Testament scriptures concerning John the Baptist.
Presented by Brother Jim Brasseal at the Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association Meeting held at Loveland Baptist Church, Loveland, Colorado on August 8, 2008.
A small booklet written By Dr. J. M. Carroll (1858-1931) that details the history of the Lord’s churches through the ages and identifies the marks of a true New Testament Bible teaching church.
Written by Brother Jeffery Barron and examines the false teaching of Calvinism based on the scriptures.
This article originally appeared in the May 1999 edition of the “West Florida Baptist News” (a publication of the West Florida Baptist Institute). Used with permission.
Presented at the Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association Meeting held at Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, Lakewood, Colorado on August 10, 2007. Bro Pierce is Pastor of Black Hills Missionary Baptist Church in Rapid City, South Dakota.