Other Details of Creation Part 1 of 3 (series: Lessons on Genesis)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

June 18, 2013
Commentary on the Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe

Lesson I.A.10: Other Details of Creation

Gen. 2.4-7 (KJV)
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

In the first chapter we saw that there was nothing, and then the inorganic came into existence: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” The next step in creation was the organic, that is, the creation of life. We saw that in verse 21, where it says that God created great whales and then all animal life. He created animal life, but the plant life already existed and became food for all the animals. Then man is the next step in the creation. There is actually no natural transition, and evolution cannot bridge the gap that brings us to the appearance of Homo sapiens on the earth. The earth, therefore, was prepared for the coming of man.

Here, a name given to the Creator, "Jehovah." Where the word "LORD" is printed in capital letters in our English Bibles, in the original it is "Jehovah." Jehovah is that name of God, which denotes that He alone has his being (essence, life) of himself, and that He gives being (essence, life) to all creatures and things. Furthermore, notice is taken of plants and herbs, because they were made and consigned to be food for man. The earth did not produce its fruits by itself: this was done by the almighty power of God. Likewise, grace does not grow naturally in the soul, but is the work of God. Rain also is the gift of God; it cannot rain until the Lord God causes it to do so. Though God works by exerting His power and influence over men and nature, nonetheless when it pleases Him to do so, He can do His work without them; and though we must not tempt God by neglecting our duty to Him, we must trust God, both in His use of us and His purpose. Some way or other, God will water the plants which He has planted. Divine grace comes down like the dew, and waters the church without making any noise. Man was made out of the minute particles of dust, like that on the surface of the earth. The soul was not made from the earth, as was the body; therefore, if it cares for only earthly things it should be pitied. Remember, we must shortly give an accounting to God about how we have used these souls; and if He should discover that we have lost our souls, though we may have gained the world, we are more than any other man the most miserable and will remain that way forever! Fools despise their own souls, by caring for their bodies more than they do for their souls.

4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created,
This is the first of ten section headings in Genesis—“These are the generations” (see 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27; 25:12; 25:19; 36:1; 37:2). The term “generations” is actually better rendered as “histories of,” and the phrase is foundational to the structure of the book. “These” verses “are the” history or account of the creation “of the heavens and of the earth.” Where did Moses obtain this account, which was so different from the strange and absurd fantasies of the heathen? He could not have got it from any human source, because man did not exist at the time; and not from the illumination of nature or reason, since though they proclaim the eternal power and Godhead by the things which are made, they cannot tell how they were made. Only the Creator Himself could give this information, and therefore it is through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God—“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). There are two explanations for the origin of this universe. One is speculation, and the other is revelation. By faith we accept revelation, and, my friend, by faith you will accept speculation. Speculation has many theories, and many of them have been abandoned. Right now the theory is evolution, but even evolution, I am told, is going out of style today. It is the best the unbeliever can hold on to, but it is mere speculation, and they have to have a whole lot of faith to go along with it!

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.” Actually, this could read, “the ages were set up by the Word of God.” The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two–edged sword. The Word of God is more powerful than an atom or hydrogen bomb. Someone has said that atom bombs come in three sizes: “big,” “bigger,” and “where is everybody?” Well, the Word of God is even more potent than that, because the Word of God has the power to transform lives. And when you and I come to the Word of God, we either accept or reject God’s statement concerning the origin of the universe: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). That is revelation. Either you believe God, or you go by speculation. Don’t tell me that evolution is scientific. It is not. If it were, then all the scientists would be in agreement—and they certainly are not in agreement. Today many outstanding scientists are beginning to let go of their worship of evolution. They see so many fallacies in it that they are moving away from it. You either believe God (that’s revelation), or you believe speculation. Faith must be anchored in something. Faith means that you have a solid basis for the origin of the universe. I won’t have to change my theory as scientific knowledge grows; it has been in operation a long time: “God created the heaven and the earth.”

Some scholars have suggested that Genesis 1 and 2 are different creation stories placed side by side. The structure of chapter 2 does not support this theory. Verses 1–3 complete the retelling of the seven days of creation; verses 4–7 in Hebrew are one long sentence summarizing God’s creative activity. A more detailed description follows of the creation of the man (vv. 7, 15–17), of the garden in which the man and woman would live (vv. 8–14), and of the woman who was to be his “helper” (vv. 18–25). The word “history” (lit. “generations”) is elsewhere used to introduce genealogical lines (Gen. 5:1; 10:1).

in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
Here is the first mention of the name for God, “the LORD.” Literally, it is YHWH (probably pronounced Yahweh), and it is the most significant name for God in the Old Testament; it expresses respect and reverence.

Yahweh (or Jehovah) is one of the most important names for God in the Old Testament, from the verb “to be,” meaning simply but profoundly, “He Is.” His full name is found only in Ex. 3:14 and means “I am who I am” or “I will be who I will be.” The four-letter Hebrew word YHWH was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush (see Ex. 3:14). This bush was a vivid symbol of the inexhaustible dynamism of God who burns like a fire with love and righteousness, yet remains the same and never diminishes. Some English translations of the Bible use the word Jehovah, while others use Yahweh.

God is the author of life and salvation. His “I am” expresses the fact that He is the infinite and original personal God who is behind everything and to whom everything must finally be traced. “I am who I am” implies the truth that nothing else defines who God is but God Himself. What He says and does is who He is. The inspired Scriptures are the infallible guide to understanding who God is by what He says about Himself and what He does. Yahweh is the all-powerful and sovereign God who alone defines Himself and establishes truth for His creatures and works for their salvation.

“Elohim” is the name of God in Chapter 1. Elohim is the plural form of El, but it is usually translated in the singular. Some scholars have held that the plural represents an intensified form for the supreme God; others believe it describes the supreme God and His heavenly court of created beings. Still, others believe that the plural form refers to the triune God of Genesis 1:1–3, who works through Word and Spirit in the creation of the world. In any event, Elohim conveys the idea that the one Supreme Being, who is the only true God, is in some sense plural.

Throughout the first chapter, God was called Elohim—a God of power and perfection; but now, in these verses He is Jehovah. He was known by the name Jehovah when he appeared to perform what he had promised—“And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them” (Ex 6:3; KJV). Jehovah is that great and unspeakable name of God which signifies His having His being (life, essence) of himself, and his giving being (life, essence) to all things; it is fitting therefore that he is called by that name now that heaven and earth are finished.

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