The Beginning (Genesis Series) Part 2 of 3
by John Lowe
In this verse, important statements concerning God’s nature and character are implied; statements which refute at least six fundamental heresies.
First, there is atheism, the view that God does not exist. The Bible offers no philosophical argument for the existence of God; it assumes His existence and views everything in the light of that assumption.
Second is polytheism. The singular form of the key verb indicates that the Hebrews believed in one God and not many gods. There is no evidence that Israel’s religion evolved from animism (The belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls.) through polytheism (The doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.) and henotheism (The worship of a particular god, as by a family or tribe, without disbelieving in the existence of others.) before it reached ethical monotheism (The doctrine or belief that there is only one God.).
Third, this verse opposes a radical materialism which maintains that matter is eternal. Without preexisting material God brought the earth—that is, matter—into existence.
Fourth, since God is clearly distinguished from His creation, this verse clearly denies pantheism (any religious belief or philosophical doctrine that identifies God with the universe.).
Fifth, the supernatural origin of the earth and the universe refutes naturalism (A manner or technique of treating subject matter that presents, through volume of detail, a deterministic view of human life and actions.); God is the Architect and Creator of all that exists.
Sixth, the uniqueness of this concept of origins in ancient literature makes indefensible the position that special revelation is nonexistent or impossible.
Human reason and inquiry, while valid, are seriously limited; the problem of origins, therefore, is best solved in the light of biblical truth”
Prov 8:27 (KJV) “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth.”
John 1:3, 10 (KJV) “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made… He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”
Eph 3:9 (KJV) “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
Heb 1:2 (KJV) “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”
The word “create” is from the Hebrew word bara, which means to create out of nothing; the universe was not formed from any pre-existing materials, but was made out of nothing. This word is used only three times in the first chapter of Genesis, because it records only three acts of creation. (1) The creation of something from nothing: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (2) The creation of life: “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth …” (v. 21). That’s animal life of all kinds. (3) The creation of man: “So God created man in his own image …” (v. 27). Theistic evolution is not the answer. It attempts to follow creation until the time of man, and then considers Adam and Eve to be products of some evolutionary process. The theistic evolutionist considers the days in Genesis as periods of time, long periods of time. I do not believe that is true. God’s marking off the creative days with the words, “And the evening and the morning were the first day,” etc., makes it clear that He was not referring to long periods of time but to actual twenty–four hour days. It is simply ridiculous for some to imagine that unformed matter existed in eternity past, and that everything we see today came from that mysterious glob. This theory was a common fable in earlier times among heathens, who had received only a vague version of the creation, and who, according to custom, polluted the truth of God with strange fantasies; but for Christian men to put their faith in this gross miscalculation is absurd and intolerable. Let us; therefore, place our faith in the Word of God which unequivocally declares that the world was created by God. There is no doubt that Moses gives the name of heaven and earth to that confused glob which he, shortly afterwards (Genesis 1:2.), calls waters.
There are several theories of creation which do not involve God in the creative process and none of them have a viable explanation for how something was made out of nothing. They all need something miraculous to happen, such as “the Big Bang.” And they require millions of years for the created “something” to evolve into the minerals, insects, plants, and animals that inhabit our world. Friends, I think it takes more faith to believe in any of man’s theories of creation than it does to accept God’s Word which says; “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The writer of Hebrews expresses what most Christians believe: “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; KJV).
the heaven and the earth.
“The heaven and the earth” is, of course, the universe. This first verse is a general introduction to the inspired book of Genesis, and it declares the great, important truth that all things had a beginning; that nothing in all of nature existed before God created the heaven and the earth. It proclaims that nothing originated by chance or from the skill of any human agent; but that the whole universe was produced by the creative power of God (See Acts 17:24 and Romans 11:36). “Heaven” may refer to the three heavens mentioned in Scripture: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2; KJV). The event referred to in this verse was a translation of the apostle into heaven. The three heavens are the atmospheric heaven, the heaven of outer space, and the habitation of God, and of the holy angels. Apparently, the angels were created at the very beginning of the first day of creation week, because they were already on hand to rejoice at the creation of the earth: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”(Job 38:7; KJV). The sons of God, and the morning stars, mean the same—the angelic. They were created first in the order of creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," and the angels witnessed the progress of the creation; and, when God had finished His work they shouted for joy and celebrated his wisdom and power.
The third heaven (as Paul called it) was likely to have been created and made perfect at the same time. The lower and visible heavens though they were created in substance were not yet adorned and made perfect: the expanse of it not established at this time, or the ether and air not yet stretched out; nor had any light been placed in them, or the sun, moon, and stars placed precisely to support human life.
At this time, the earth had not been separated from the waters, that is, the dry land is made to appear afterwards; but before their separation, the whole thing is a mass of earth and water in a chaotic state. It is true that the mass consists of matter or substance, but it is indistinguishable from anything we would recognize. It was the matter or substance of the heaven and earth that was created first.
Acts 17.24 (NKJV) “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.”
Romans 11:36 (KJV) “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” God is the source, the constantly working cause, and end of all things.
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.
And the earth was without form, and void;
“Form and void” are the two words Moses used to describe the earth; the Hebrew words he used were תוהו (tohu), meaning a ruin, vacancy, “void;” and בוהו (bohu), meaning emptiness. The Hebrews used them when they designate anything empty and confused, or vain, and worthless. Undoubtedly Moses was expressing something that was entirely different from all those created objects which have a form, and adorn the perfection of the world which God created—a mass of matter where nothing was solid, stable, or distinct. It was not in the form it is now, but it must have a form, since all matter has one; it was fluid matter, and the watery parts were not separated from the earthy ones. The sea part, and the earth part were mixed and blended together; it was empty and devoid of both men and beasts, of fishes and fowls, and also of trees, herbs, and plants. Isaiah described it as “confusion and emptiness”—“… and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness” (Isaiah 34:11; KJV).