The Beginning (Genesis Series) Part 1 of 3
by John Lowe
April 24, 2013
Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe
Lesson I.A.1: The Beginning.
Scripture: Gen. 1:1, 2.
Genesis 1.1, 2 (KJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
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.
No other book of the Bible has been attacked more often or as severely as Genesis; because, if those who hate God could disprove any part of it the entire Bible would become suspect. The attacks have been going on now for more than two thousand years, but Genesis has stood the test and still does provide the only true account of the creation of the universe, and the oldest recorded history of mankind on this little planet.
This chapter contains the following topics and themes:
1. Genesis 1:1-5; the creation of heaven and earth, and light—the work of the first day.
2. Genesis 1:6-8; the creation of the firmament—the work of the second day.
3. Genesis 1:9-13; the appearance of the earth, and the production of grass, herbs, and trees in the earth—the work of the third day.
4. Genesis 1:14-19; the creation of the sun, moon, and stars—the work of the fourth day.
5. Genesis 1:20-25; Creation of fish, fowl, beasts, and cattle —the work of the fifth day.
6. Genesis 1:26-31; Creation man in the image of God, and Provision for food—the work of the sixth day.
God creates. Everything begins with God and fulfills His purposes for His glory (Col. 1:16–17; Rev. 4:11). He works by the power of His Word (Ps. 33:6–9), the same Word that can work in our lives (1 Thess. 2:13). He works according to a plan: first He forms, and then He fills. He formed the earth and filled it with plants and animals. He formed the firmament and filled it with stars and planets. He formed the seas and filled them with living creatures. He can form and fill our lives today if we will yield to Him. Persons who have trusted Jesus Christ are a part of the new creation (2 Cor. 4:6; 5:17; Eph. 2:8–10).
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
In the beginning
I prefer this meaning for “In the beginning”—a period of remote and unknown antiquity, hid in the depths of eternal ages. Moses simply intends to affirm that the world was not perfected at its very beginning, in the manner in which it is now seen, but that it was created an empty chaos of heaven and earth. His verse, therefore, may be explained this way: When God, in the beginning, created the heaven and the earth, the earth was empty and a wasteland.
This verse makes one of the most profound statements that have ever been uttered, and yet it is a statement that is certainly challenged in the times in which we are living. The problem of origin provokes more violent controversy, wild theories, and wide disagreement than any other; and behind it there are always the theories men have proposed, and which liberal thinkers have promoted as fact, and as a result, there is a babble of voices that has drowned out the clear voice of God. Actually, there are two extreme groups who have blurred the issue, and they have muddied the waters of understanding by their dogmatic assumptions and assertions. One group is comprised of the arrogant scientists who assume that biological and philosophical evolution is the gospel truth. Their assumed axiom is “the certain finding of science”. The other group is comprised of the young and proud theologians who claim to have super–knowledge; that they have discovered how God did it. They write and speak intellectually about some clever theory that reconciles science and the Bible. They look with contempt upon the great giants of biblical expositors of the past as being Bible dwarfs compared to them. I think both of these groups should consider a statement that was made to Job when the Lord finally appeared to him. God asked him the question: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding” (Job 38:4). In other words, God is saying to man, “You talk about the origin of the universe, but you don’t even know where you were when I laid the foundation of the earth!”
There are a great many theories as to how the world began, but all of them can be boiled down to fit into one of two classifications: one is creation, and the other is speculation. All theories fall into one of these two divisions.
The theory of evolution is comprised of many different theories in our day, and some of the most reputable scientists of the past, as well as the present, reject evolution. So we can’t put down the theory of evolution as being a scientific statement like 2 + 2 = 4. Then there is the creation account in Genesis 1, which must be accepted by faith. It is very interesting that God has made it that way—by faith is the only way in the world by which you can accept it. Notice what the writer to the Hebrews said: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:1–3). So today the great problem still remains: How did it get from nothing to something? The only way that you can ever arrive at an answer is by faith or by speculation—and speculation is very unscientific.
If you believe in the “theory of evolution” you have to take it by faith; in fact, you have to have a whole lot of faith. And did you notice that even the educators and scientists still call it a “theory?” One definition of “theory” is: “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.” Evolution is speculation and always has been. But, unfortunately, a great many people have accepted it as fact. It still makes more sense to me to read: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Who created the universe? God did. He created it out of nothing. When? I don’t know, and nobody else knows.
The Psalmist wrote, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained” (Psalms 8:3; KJV); and “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalms 19:1; KJV). The apostle Paul wrote this to the Romans: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). And the writer to the Hebrews says: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3). We must accept creation by faith. Even science cannot tell us how something can be made out of nothing. God apparently did it just that way. And man today cannot tell when He did it.
There is something we do know about creation; we know why He created. The Word of God tells us that this universe was created for His own pleasure. He saw fit to create it; He delighted in it. In the final book of the Bible, we find these words: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11). He created this universe because He wanted to create it. He did it for His pleasure.
The second reason that He created this universe was for His own glory. The original creation, you remember, sang that wonderful Creator’s praise “… When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). It was created for His glory. And in the prophecy of Isaiah are these words: “… I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Isa. 43:7). God created this universe for His own glory.
The Word of God also tells us that God created man in this universe for fellowship. He wanted to have fellowship with mankind, and so He created him a free moral agent. God could have made a bunch of robots. God could have made mechanical men and pushed a button to make them bow down to Him. But God didn’t want that kind of a man. God wanted a man to be free to choose Him and to love Him and to serve Him.
In the midst of all the unbelief, the blasphemy, and the hostility toward God which is around us today, the greatest thing you can do as a human being is to publicly choose the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe in God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth and to receive His Son, Jesus Christ, is the most glorious privilege that you and I have.
“God” is the name of the Supreme Being. In Hebrew the meaning is "Strong," "Mighty." It signifies omnipotent power; and by its use here in the plural form, a doctrine is suggested at the opening of the Bible which is clearly revealed in other parts of it, namely, that though God is one, there is a plurality of persons in the Godhead—Father, Son, and Spirit, who were engaged in the creative work (see verses: Pr 8:27; John 1:3, 10; Eph 3:9; Heb 1:2). The concept of Trinity is basically a New Testament revelation.