Genesis 2:1-3

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

all the host of them (v.1) — the stars (Deuteronomy 4:19; Jeremiah 33:22)

The actual Hebrew verb used here [for “rest’ in v.2]—i.e., vayyishbot, which shares the same root as the noun “Sabbath”—does not properly mean “to rest” in the sense of physical recuperation from physical exertion (for this idea in the Hebrew Bible the proper verbs are yashen, “to sleep” (which we are told God does not do) or nuah, “to rest,” as in the name “Noah,” but in fact means literally “go cease,” “to abstain,” or “to not work”—that is to say, it denotes simply the absence or cessation of activity that would otherwise be classified as “work,” or “labor.” — Wechsler, pages 73-74. 

sanctified (v.3) = “set apart,” made holy

There is no evening to the Sabbath day; it has no evening, it is eternal. It foretells Christ, the true Sabbath, in whom God rests and in whom believers rest. This is “God’s own rest” of Hebrews 4. — Williams, page 9.

It is extremely significant that God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. Blessing, as we have already noted, fundamentally concerns the expansion of life, whereas sanctification—literally, “making holy”—concerns the sovereign granting by God of that quality which most distinguishes Him from all Creation (cf. Isaiah 6:3) and which, when granted to human individuals, is that which fundamentally enables us to commune or “relate”—that is, to “connect”—with God. What God is here doing, therefore, is establishing the crucial and unchanging paradigm of holiness—and hence the “relationship” with God that it enables—being inseparably connected with cessation from work. It is, indeed, precisely this point that the writer of the letter to the Hebrews makes, after quoting this very passage, when he concludes that “the one who has entered His rest (is the one who) has himself likewise ceased from his works, just as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:10). In establishing this paradigm God is once again demonstrating both His omniscience as well as His gracious love for man, since the need for this paradigm—which is in essence (and as clearly treated in Hebrews) a paradigm of how to get back into relationship with God—only became felt after the Fall of man in chapter three. The Sabbath observation, in other words, as based upon this passage in Genesis 2:1-3, was meant to be “a shadow of what is to come, the substance (of which) is in Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17). — Wechsler, page 74. 

What Wechsler said. The Sabbath isn’t about humans needing a day to recover from their work. It’s about humans needing to be reconciled to God so they can enter into the “rest” of Christ.

Posted in Genesis | Leave a comment

Genesis 1:28-31

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.

31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The First Dispensation: Innocence. Man was created in innocence, placed in a perfect environment, subjected to a simple test, and warned of the consequences of disobedience. He was not compelled to sin but, tempted by Satan, he chose to disobey God. The woman was deceived; the man transgressed deliberately (1 Timothy 2:14). The stewardship of Innocence ended in the judgment of the expulsion from Eden (Genesis 3:24. — Scofield, page 4.

God’s blessing of man, as His blessing on the animals in v.22, is fundamentally concerned with the expansion of life. Unlike the animals, however, the life of man is not just physical, or biological, but also spiritual, centered in the divine Image—i.e., the soul—that was uniquely imparted by God to humanity. This blessing, therefore, as ideally intended by God, is expressed not just by the man being created and placed in a state of physical “perfection” or “wholeness” (both concepts are expressed by the same Hebrew word: shalom), but also in a state of spiritual “wholeness”—that is to say, in unbroken and complete relationship with His Creator-Father. — Wechsler, page 72.

subdue (v.28) — Man began with a mind that was perfect in its finite capacity for learning, but he did not begin knowing all the secrets of the universe. He is commanded to “subdue,” i.e., acquire a knowledge and mastery over his material environment, to bring its elements into the service of the race. — Scofield, page 4.

God instructed man to “subdue” the earth, and to “have dominion over … every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” These are military terms—first conquer, and then rule. In context, however, there is no actual conflict suggested, since everything God had made was pronounced “good.” The “cultural mandate,” as some have called it, is clearly a very expressive figure of speech for, first, intense study and, then, utilization of this knowledge. … This twofold commission to subdue and have dominion, to conquer and rule, embraces all productive human activities.

This command, therefore, established man as God’s steward over the created world and all things therein. “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou has put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea” (Psalm 8:6-8). However, as the writer of Hebrews says, commenting on this passage: “But now we see not yet all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8). The problem is, of course, that man has failed in his stewardship. Instead of using the earth for good, under God, he has denied God and abused his stewardship.—Morris, pages 76-77.

The same command to subdue the land, moreover, is given by God to the Israelites with reference to the land of Canaan—a parallel which is unquestionably intended to strengthen the perception of Jacob’s descendants not only that the land of Canaan (as finally and most specifically delineated in Numbers 34) is theirs by divine right, but also that they are to live out the ideal of what pre-Fall humanity was meant to be and do. — Wechsler, page 73. 

It is clear from this passage that, in the original creation, it was not intended that either man or animals should eat animal food. As far as man was concerned, this was changed at the time of the Flood (Genesis 9:3). Whether some of the antediluvians ventured to do this against God’s command, we are not told, although it is a possibility (Jabal introduced cattle raising, Genesis 4:10). As far as carnivorous animals are concerned, their desire for meat must also have been a later development, either at the time of the Curse or after the Flood. — Morris, page 78.

In v.30 reference is also made to a third group of vegetation—i.e., the green plant—which is mentioned here for the first time, not because it was here created, but because it is only  now relevant for man—that is to say, relevant to his knowledge of what sustenance was necessary for the animals he was commanded to “rule” in v.28. — Wechsler, page 73. 

God had now completed His work, but, before settling down to “rest” in contemplation of what He had produced, as it were, He first surveyed it all and pronounced the whole creation to be “very good.” Six times before,  he had seen that what He had made was “good”; but now that it was complete, with every part in perfect harmony with every other part, all perfectly formed and with an abundance of inhabitants, He saw with great joy that it was all “literally) “exceedingly good.” On each previous day, the account had concluded by saying (literally) “the evening and the morning were a fifth day,” and so on; but now it says, “the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (the definite article occurring for the first time in this formula), thus also stressing completion of the work. — Morris, page 79.

This verse concludes the first chapter of Genesis but … this first chapter should really not have been marked as this point, but in the middle of verse 4 of Genesis 2. It is there that the first toledoth subscript appears: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created.” It is likely … that this statement represents the subscript, or signature as it were, of the author of the section that has bone before. In this case, since there was no human author, no man having been present to observe the creation, no human name is attached as in the case of the other ten “toledoths” that occur later in Genesis. — Morris, page 80.

Posted in Genesis | Leave a comment

Genesis 1:26-27

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Man was made in the “image and likeness” of God. This image is found chiefly in the fact that man is a personal, rational, and moral being. While God is infinite and man finite, nevertheless man possesses the elements of personality similar to those of the divine Person: thinking (Genesis 2:19-20; 3:8); feeling (Genesis 3:6); willing (Genesis 3:6-7). That man has a moral nature is implicit in the record and is further attested by the New Testament usage (Ephesians 4:23-24; Colossians 3:10). —Scofield, page 3.

Whereas previous acts of God have followed immediately the phrase “And God said, Let there be …,” in this verse God speaks, as it were, to Himself: “And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” 

He was not speaking to the angels, because man was not going to be made in the likeness of the angels but in the likeness of God. Thus God could only have been speaking to Himself; one member of the uni-plural Godhead was addressing another member or members.

This fascinating type of exchange within the Godhead appears in a number of other places in the Old Testament (e.g., Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 48:16; Psalm 45:7; Psalm 110:1). Similarly, in the New Testament, such fellowship between Christ (before His human birth) and the Father is noted in such passages as Matthew 11:27; John 8:42; John 17:24; and others. 

Man was to be in the image and likeness of God Himself! Therefore, he was also “created” (bara) in God’s image. He was both made and created in the image of God. — Morris, pages 72-73

We can only say that, although God Himself may have no physical body, He designed and formed Man’s body to enable it to function physically in ways in which He Himself could function even without a body. God can see (Genesis 16:13), hear (Psalm 94:9), smell (Genesis 8:21), touch (Genesis 32:32), and speak (2 Peter 1:18), whether or not He has actual physical eyes, ears, nose, hands, and mouth. Furthermore, whenever He has designed to appear visibly to men, He has done so in the form of a human body (Genesis 18:1-2); and the same is true of angels (Acts 1:10). There is something about the human body, therefore, which is uniquely appropriate to God’s manifestation of Himself, and (since God knows all His works from the beginning of the world—Acts 15:18) He must have designed man’s body with this in mind. Accordingly, He designed it, not like the animals, but with an erect posture, with an upward gazing countenance, capable of facial expressions corresponding to emotional feelings, and with a brain and tongue capable of articulate, symbolic speech. 

He knew, of course, that in the fullness of time even He would become a man. In that day, He would prepare a human body for His Son (Hebrews 10:5; Luke 1:35); and it would be “made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7), just as man had been made in the likeness of God. 

Both in body and in spirit, Christ was indeed Himself the image of God (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4). It does not seem to much to infer that God made man in the image of that body which He would Himself one day assume. In this sense, at least, it is true that, physically as well as spiritually, man was both made and created in the image and likeness of God the Son. — Morris, pages 74-75.

the word “man” is actually adam, and is related to “earth” (Hebrew adamah), since man’s body was formed from the elements of the earth (Genesis 2:7). it may be noted that man was to have dominion not only over all animals but also over the earth (v.26) from which he had been formed. — Morris, page 75.

Because of Adam’s sin, the image of God within us is tarnished. Seth, who Eve rightly prophesied was to be the carrier of the promised seed, was begotten in the image of Adam, whereas Adam was created in the image of God. To labor the point a moment, Seth was born in the image of a man who was in the image of God.

The fullness of the image of God was not to be seen again in mankind until the birth of Jesus, the Last Adam. It is interesting to note that Jesus could be perfect, and still be perfectly human. This is because there was a model of perfect humanity in Adam. — Taylor, pages 74-75. 

The presentation of mankind’s creation in v.27 as a single collective event (i.e., And God created man … male and female He created them) does not contradict the more specific description of the two-stage process in chapter two, but is rather intended to emphasize here that the image of God imparted to man in equally presented in both sexes. — Wechsler, page 71.

The only theologically and grammatically viable explanation of this plural language is that it is an expression of the Trinity, and thus the image must pertain collectively to all three persons of the Trinity (since the image is qualified in v.26 as “our” not “my” or “his”). Logically, therefore, this image is that which most defines the Trinity per se—to wit: the capacity for spiritual relationship—or, in a word, the soul. It is the soul, accordingly, which most distinguishes us—humanity—from the rest of created life (including, perhaps, even the angels), for it is only into man that Scripture tells us God breathed in a “living soul” (see 2:7), and it is only human individuals—regardless of their mental capacity, physical ability, or material circumstances—who, by virtue of having a soul, can experience spiritual communion, or “relationship,” with God. — Wechsler, pages 71-72.

There’s a bit of disagreement on what it means to be in the “image” of God. Wechsler says it’s the soul. I think there’s truth to that. Some commentaries say that animals also have a soul in the sense of self-awareness, but it’s obvious that mankind’s soul is of a different sort. Some say the “image” is the capacity to have a relationship with God, which is also obviously part of it. But I think Morris’s take is most compelling—that God created us in the form that He knew He would one day send His Son. 

Posted in Genesis | Comments Off on Genesis 1:26-27

Genesis 1:24-25

24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

creature (v.24) — “Creature” (Heb. nephesh) is usually translated “soul,” as in 2:7. In itself nephesh or soul, implies conscious life, as distinguished from plants which have unconscious life. In the sense of conscious life an animal also has a soul. — Scofield, page 2.

It is noteworthy that the record says that God “made” (Heb. asah) these land animals; whereas He was said to have “created” (bara) the air and sea mammals. It would seem, if anything, that the land animals were of a higher order than the others and therefor they should have taken a higher category of divine activity.

The reason for this apparent anomaly undoubtedly is that the act of creation (v.21) was that of “every living soul,” not only of sea and air creatures. Since this “soul” principle was created on the fifth day, there was no need to mention it again on the sixth day. The formation of land creatures merely involved new types of organization of materials already in existence, including the nephesh as well as the physical elements. There was no intrinsic difference in the actual “making” of land animals from that of the marine animals or, for that matter, of the making of plants. All involved the same fundamental biochemical structure and reproductive mechanisms. — Morris, pages 70-71.

The land animals made during the early part of the sixth day are categorized as “cattle, creeping things, and beasts of the earth.” this description is evidently intended to be comprehensive, in so far as land animals are concerned. Very likely, the term “cattle” refers to domesticable animals, “beasts of the earth” refers to large wild animals, and “creeping things” refers to all animals that crawl or creep close to the surface of the ground. 

This classification has no correlation with the arbitrary system of man-made taxonomy (amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects), but is a more natural system based on the relation of the animals to man’s interests. — Morris, page 71

All these land animals were said to have been “brought forth” from the earth, or ground. That is, their bodies were composed of the same elements as the earth; and when they died, they would go back to the earth. — Morris, pages 71-72.

… Contrary to modern scientific theory—there are a certain number of animal species that have always been “tame” and of a nature lent to husbandry by man. This further underscores the human-focused nature of Creation in this chapter. — Wechsler, page 71.

Posted in Genesis | Comments Off on Genesis 1:24-25

Genesis 1:20-23

20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”

21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

living (v.20) — The word “life” occurs for the first time in this verse (Hebrew nephesh). Actually, this is the word also for “soul,” and is frequently used to refer to both the soul of man and the life of animals. In the Biblical sense, plants do not have real life, or soul (or consciousness); but both animals and men do. — Morris, page 69.

face of the firmament (v.20) — This indicates that the firmament can sometimes refer to the atmosphere. Not for one moment do we suppose that there were creatures that could fly in space. It is perhaps significant that they do not fly in the firmament, but across the face of the firmament. The atmosphere can be said to be across the face of the sky. Stars, on the other hand, were placed in the firmament. — Taylor, page 65. 

great sea creatures (v. 21) — The first animals specifically mentioned as the product of this act of creation were the “great sea-monsters,” [thought by many to be whales]. It is significant, however, that this same word is most frequently translated “dragon.” Evidently the term includes all large sea-creatures, even the monsters of the past that are now extinct. The frequent references to dragons in the Bible, as well as in the early records and traditions of most of the nations of antiquity, certainly cannot be shrugged off as mere fairy tales. Most probably they represent memories of dinosaurs handed down by tribal ancestors who encountered them before they became extinct. — Morris, page 69.

Animal life was not simply “brought forth” from the earth or water, as was true for plant life. The principle of consciousness was not capable of development merely by complex organization of the basic physical elements; and so it required a new creation. God had created the physical elements of the universe on the first day and here He performed His second act of true creation … The “living creature” is the same as the “living soul,” so that this act of creation can be understood as the creation of the entity of conscious life which would henceforth be an integral part of every animate being, including man. — Morris, page 69.

fruitful (v.22) — In this case, God not only declared that His work was good, but also pronounced a blessing on the animals He had created. Though not an object of God’s love as man would be, animals nevertheless are objects of His care and concern … the blessing included both a command and a provision for the continued multiplication of the animals he had created, so that they would soon occupy all parts of the world. It is interesting that a similar command was given later to the animals emerging from the ark after the Flood (Genesis 8:17). — Morris, page 70.

I think “sea monsters” or “sea creatures” in v.21 could certainly include whales and dinosaurs, although there’s no way to know for sure. The dinosaurs, anyway, may have been created on day six. Or maybe some were created on day five and some on day six.

Posted in Genesis | Comments Off on Genesis 1:20-23

Genesis 1:14-19

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 

15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 

16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 

17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 

18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 

19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

The sun and the moon are … timekeepers. The moon orbits the earth once every 28 days. … It’s 28-day orbit is seen from the earth in the form of phases, from new moon, through quarters (crescents and half-moons) to full moon and back again.

The sun also gives us time scales. The orbit of the earth around the sun takes about 365.3 days. This is the length of our year. The earth’s orbit is elliptical, rather than circular. If the earth’s orbit were circular, and the earth’s axis not tilted away from the perpendicular, then we would notice no seasons. The ancient time scales, plotting the year’s course by the seasons, is entirely astronomical in nature. The earth’s rotation about its own axis takes about 24 hours. This is the length of the day.

This brings us to the second reason that these lights are in the sky. They are there to give life to the earth. — Taylor, page 52. 

The words “created” and “made” … should be distinguished when it is being read. … For example, [God] “created” the sun, moon, and stars at some unknown period of time “in the beginning” (v.1), and afterwards, when preparing the earth for man, He “made,” i.e., appointed them in relation to the earth as light-holders, as measurers of time, and as vehicles of revelation (Psalm 19). — Williams, page 9.

The lights were set in “the firmament of heaven,” but this was not the same firmament as formed on the second day. The latter is the “open firmament of heaven” where birds were to fly (v.20). As noted above, the term “firmament” may apply to any particular region of space, as determined by context. In verse 8, we were told that “God called the firmament Heaven.” Evidently “firmament” is the common term and “heaven” is the formal name for any firmament (or space) which has been designated as a particular sphere of God’s creative or purposive activity. — Morris, page 67.

Since the heavenly bodies were to be used to denote the “seasons” (as well as “days and years”), it is obvious that there were to be distinct seasons through the year, and this implies that the earth’s axis was inclined as it is at present. —Morris, page 67

In addition to marking the passage of days and years, God indicates that [the stars] are foremost intended for signs and for seasons (not, as some read, “as signs for marking seasons, etc.”), both of which terms underscore God’s omniscience and preemptive redemptive focus in Creation itself. This is evident from the fact that the Hebrew word translated signs is commonly employed in Scripture to denote a miracle—i.e., a testimony to God’s active involvement in human history, usually in connection with a redemptive purpose (as in Exodus 4:8ff. & Deuteronomy 34:11); and the word translated seasons is typically employed to denote the “appointed times,” or “holy days,” of Israel (as in Leviticus 23), which are likewise intended to serve as testimonies to God’s redemptive activity in human history—specifically, in fact, to God’s plan of messianic redemption, as Paul writes in Colossians 2:16-17, that the festivals of Israel (i.e., each of the yearly festivals, the monthly new moon festival, and the weekly Sabbath) are fundamentally “a shadow of what is to come, the substance of which belongs to Christ.” In other words, knowing full well that man would sin and thus stand in need of redemption, God graciously and lovingly wove into the fabric of Creation itself—even before man was created—those elements that would serve as post-fall “signposts” of redemption, intended to help point man’s way back into “relationship” with his Creator-Father through the specific redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ. — Wechsler, page 68. 

I’ve only copied out a tiny bit of what my commentaries had to say on this passage. All of them believe with complete conviction that God created the universe and everything in it, as do I. But none of them agree with each other as to exactly how He did it. In this passage, the issues are 1) whether or not the sun, moon, and stars that we can see were created earlier in Genesis 1:1 (before the “gap”), and 2) if the stars were created during the six days, how can their light possibly have reached the earth by this time.

I have my own theories that are nothing more than speculation. But I wonder if the universe at large was created in Genesis 1:1, before the gap. If there was a gap between Genesis 1:1 and the six days, we have no idea how long that might have been. It may even have been before time, as we know it, began. If so, the apparent age of the universe offers no problems. (Because there is so much disagreement on this point, let me rush to state, once again, that I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE PROCESS OF EVOLUTION TOOK PLACE DURING THE GAP. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS PLANET WAS CREATED MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO. I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF PRE-ADAMIC MEN WITHOUT SOULS.

Wechsler’s point of view, that the creation account is specifically focusing on the aspects of God’s creation that were for the benefit of humans, makes sense to me. In that light, perhaps the “making” (the word “creation” isn’t used here) of the sun, moon, and stars is referring only to those heavenly bodies that factor as signs. I have no problem with the concept that distance stars and galaxies were created before time as we know it and that the closer stars and planets were created on day four for us.

But that’s just pondering.

Posted in Genesis | Comments Off on Genesis 1:14-19

Genesis 1:9-13

Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 

10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 

12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 

13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.

We note that God gathers the waters into one place. This would seem to suggest that there was only one ocean and one continent. — Tayor, page 44.

In Genesis 1:10, we read for the first time, “And God saw that it was good.

On the creation of plants:

One. The description of grass, herbs, and trees would appear to be an all-encompassing phrase referring to all types of plant life. so all of it came into existence at this point.

Two. The plants were created with all their organ systems already in place and working. We are told that the plants were created ready to bear seeds and fruit, even before insects were created to cause pollination. This is not to imply that insect-pollinated plants could produce seed in any other way — after all, they only had a couple of days to wait. It does, however, imply that all systems were in place at the beginning, and did not have to evolve.

Three. We are introduced to the word kind. All the plants were created able to reproduce “according to its kind.” This is the first appearance of the word kind, and we need to understand its significance. The Hebrew word is min and it is being used in a specific way in Genesis. It is to be understood scientifically in a specific way. the biblical kind is not the same as the man-made classification word species. Species is an observable study that is in constant flux—a species being a type of plant or animal, isolated from others, incapable of interbreeding (usually) with members of others species…. Species are clearly observed to develop. — Taylor, page 45.

It is significant that these plants were made, not as seeds, but as full-grown plants whose seed was in themselves. They thus had an “appearance of age.” The concept of creation of apparent age does not, of course, suggest a divine deception, but is a necessary accompaniment of genuine creation. The processes operating in Creation Week were not the processes of the present era, but were processes of “creating and making” … Adam was created as a full-grown man, the trees were created as full-grown trees, and the whole universe was made as a functioning entity, complete and fully developed, right from the beginning.

Implanted in each created organism was a “seed,” programmed to enable the continuing replication of that type of organism. The modern understanding of the extreme complexities of the so-called DNA molecule and the genetic code contained in it has reinforced the biblical teaching of the stability of kinds. Each type of organism has its own unique structure of the DNA and can only specify the reproduction of that same kind. There is a tremendous amount of variational potential within each kind, facilitating the generation of distinct individuals and even of many varieties within the kind, but nevertheless precluding the evolution of new kinds! A great deal of “horizontal” variation is easily possible, but no “vertical” changes.

It is significant that the phrase “after his kind” occurs ten times in the first chapter of Genesis,. Whatever precisely is meant by the term “kind” (Hebrew min), it does indicate the limitations of variation. — Morris, page 63.

The terms “evening” (Hebrew ereb) and “morning” (Hebrew boqer) each occur more than one hundred times in the Old Testament, and always have the literal meaning—that is, the termination of the daily period of light and the termination of the daily period of darkness. — Morris, page 64.

It should be noted that the dry land here is not called into being, but rather called out from under the worldwide ocean, thus affirming what we have said about this chapter picking up at that point in the creative process where the raw materials of space and our planet, with its waters and submerged land mass, are already in place, the stage therefore being set for God to begin working with and within this “raw setting” to prepare a home specifically designed for the “good” of man. Indeed, the specifically anthropocentric (i.e., human-focused) perspective of the creation account is especially evident in the way that the second creative act on this day is described: after describing the creation of flora generally, reference is made to two specific groups included therein—namely, plants yielding seed (i.e., cultivatable plants consumable by man) and fruit trees, which are precisely the same two groups of flora that are reiterated by God in verse 29 as being for the food of man; yet in verse 30 reference is made to a third group of flora, the “green plant,” which was intended for the food of animals. This third group, it must be concluded, is not mentioned in this description of the third-day events, not because that group were not created, but rather because they are not relevant to the “good” of man, and they are only therefore mentioned in connection with man’s charge to husband (i.e., rule over) the animals once they have been created. — Wechsler, pages 66-67. 

Not too much to add here. I have no problem with the idea of there being only one continent originally, which was divided at the time of the flood. Wechsler’s premise that God wrote to man from a man-focused perspective also makes sense.

Posted in Genesis | Comments Off on Genesis 1:9-13

Genesis 1:6-8

Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

The word “firmament” is the Hebrew raqia, meaning “expanse,” or “spread-out-thinness.” It may well be synonymous with our modern technical term “space,” practically the same as “heaven.” In fact, this passage specifically says that “God called the firmament Heaven….” The firmament referred to in this particular passage is obviously the atmosphere. 

Separated by this firmament, or atmosphere, the two bodies of water henceforth were ready for their essential functions in sustaining future life on the earth. The “waters above the firmament” probably constituted a vast blanket of water vapor above the troposphere and possibly above the stratosphere as well, in the high-temperature region we now know as the ionosphere, and extending far into space. The could not have been the clouds of water droplets which now float in the atmosphere, because the Scripture says they were “above the firmament.” Furthermore, there was no “rain upon the earth” in those days (Genesis 2:5), or any “bow in the cloud” (Genesis 9:13), both of which must have been present if these upper waters represented merely the regime of clouds which functions in the present hydrologic economy. — Morris, pages 58-59.

Later, when needed, these upper waters would provide the reservoir from which God would send the great Flood … They will apparently be restored in the millennial earth and in the new earth which God will create. Psalm 148:4, 6 speaks of the “waters that be above the heavens” which, like the stars, will be established “for ever and ever.” — Morris, page 61.

made (v.7) = This is the first record of God “making” something.

The expanse that God here creates and calls heaven, employing the same word used in verse 1, is clearly the sky, seeing that it divides the waters which were below (i.e., the worldwide ocean) from the waters which were above (i.e., the clouds and water vapor of the troposphere). Whether this expanse, or firmament, is just the peplosphere (the lowest layer of the atmosphere) or more (perhaps, including all the layers of the atmosphere) is unclear—though in the end an unnecessary distinction. The creation of the expanse is being concisely represented from a human (i.e., earthbound) perspective, and is no more indicative of a “primitive” or “inacurate”understanding of the natural world than the statement of a modern climatologist who refers to the “sunrise” or “sunset.” Quite to the contrary, in fact: the Hebrew word translated expanse is elsewhere used to describe a thin layer of gold which completely encompasses an idol (Isaiah 40:19), the implication here being that the expanse completely encompasses the planet, which must reasonably therefore be conceptualized as a sphere. And indeed, when one looks at satellite images of the earth, the atmosphere clearly presents itself as a circular/spherical “layer” encompassing what is at this point a water-covered planet is also expressly indicated in the later inner-biblical exposition of the creation account in Proverbs 8:22-31, specifically in verse 27. — Wechsler, pages 64-65.

When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth (Proverbs 8:27-29).

Posted in Genesis | Comments Off on Genesis 1:6-8

Genesis 1:3-5

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

God said, “Let there be light.”  (v.1) — the first record of God speaking in the Bible…. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus Christ, the living Word of God (John 1:1, 14) is the “light of the world” (John 8:12), and “in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

The light that God created and here “separates” from the darkness is not the light of the sun, as claimed by some interpreters, but simply light, created by God and employed by Him to enforce the distinction between night and day until that “task” is relegated to the sun (i.e., “the greater light”) that He clearly creates on the fourth day. it should also be noted that, not only is the existence of light (i.e., photons) as distinct from the solar source that produces it (such as the sun) a well-recognized fact, but in fact the existence of light in the absence of the sun is here theologically consistent with the description of Creation restored to its ideal at the end of the Bible, in Revelation 22:5, where John tells us that perfected humanity “shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them.” — Wechsler, page 62.

The important word “and” occurs 102 times, and is designed to fasten attention upon the 102 separate actions of God. — Williams, page 9.

The statement “and God saw that it was good” is extremely significant in underscoring the human focus of all that God does in this chapter. The verbal root “to see” that is here used may also convey the meaning “to provide” (similar to the English idiom “to see to it”), as vividly illustrated by the use of this same verb in Genesis 16:13-14, where Hagar describes God as the One “who sees” because He provided for her need, and in Genesis 22:8, 14, where it is this verb that is typically translated by the key phrase “will provide.” Likewise, the reference to God’s “seeing” throughout this first chapter should be understood, not as an assessment of the creative act for its own sake—as if to say here, “And God saw that the light He made was very beautiful”—but rather as a specific assessment of the good—that is to say, the benefit—of that creative act for man. Indeed, this bears out the more general, albeit equally important point that throughout the Bible, whenever God is described as “seeing,” it is always with a keen interest in the affairs of men (never a disinterested observation of a “passive” God) and always in connection with undertaking that which is necessary for man’s best—even if this should mean punishment for sin. — Wechsler, page 63.

Having separated the day and night, God had completed His first day’s work. “the evening and the morning were the first day.” this same formula is used at the conclusion of each of the six days: so it is obvious that the duration of each of  the days, including the first, was the same. Furthermore, the “day” was the “light” time, when God did His work; the darkness was the “night” time when God did no work—nothing new took place between the “evening” and “morning” of each day. The formula may be rendered literally, “and there was evening, then morning—day one,” and so on. It is clear that, beginning with the first day and continuing thereafter, there was established a cyclical succession of days and nights—periods of light and periods of darkness. — Morris, page 55.

All I’m going to say about the “day-age” theory is that, if God didn’t mean His words to convey the idea of 24-hour days, then His intent was to deceive, and I refuse to believe that was His intent.

I’ve mentioned in my first couple posts that I lean toward a particular “gap theory” between verses 1 and 2 because I have to fit angelic creation in somewhere. Morris attempts to explain it. I think his explanation is far from satisfactory and actually points out the problems with those who think there was no creation of anything prior to the six days.

Although not mentioned in Genesis 1, it is probably that another act of creation took place on this first day. Sometime prior to the third day of creation, a multitude of angels had been created, since they were present when the “foundations of the earth” were laid—probably a reference to the establishment of solid land surfaces on the earth (Job 38:4-7). It is impossible that they could have existed before the creation of the physical universe itself, since their sphere of operation is in this universe and their very purpose is to minister to the “heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Angels are called the “host of heaven,” and so they could not have been created before the existence of heaven. — Morris, page 57.

But if Genesis 1:1 refers to the original creation of the universe, an angelic creation that was mostly destroyed because of the fall of Satan and the angels that followed him, then, again, you don’t have to cram their creation and fall into the first week or so.

Referring to the preadamite world, Pember writes:

Of its main features there is a graphic portrayal in a grand passage of Job, in which the folly of contending with God is enforced by an obvious reference to Satan’s rebellion and its consequences. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered? He removes the mountains, and they do not know when He overturns them in His anger; He shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; He commands the sun, and it does not rise; He seals off the stars” (Job 9:4-7). — Pember, page 82.

God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night (v.5) — Here we have the two great symbols so largely employed throughout the Word. The presence of light makes the day; the absence thereof makes the night. Thus it is in the history of souls. There are “the sons of light” and “the sons of darkness.” This is a most marked and solemn distinction. All upon whom the light of Life has shone—all who have been effectually visited by “the dayspring from on high”—all who have received the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ—all such, whoever and wherever they  may be, belong to the first class, are “the sons of light, and the sons of the day.”

On the other hand, all who are still in nature’s darkness, nature’s blindness, nature’s unbelief—all who have not yet received into their hearts, by faith, the cheering beams of the Sun of Righteousness,—all such are still wrapped in the shades of spiritual night, are “the sons of darkness,” “the sons of the night.” — Mackintosh, page 6.

God’s naming the light day and the darkness night underscores His dominion over these fundamental “parts” of Creation. This idea of “dominion” conveyed by the act of naming is consistent with all the following acts of naming, both in this chapter as well as throughout the Bible. — Wechsler, page 63.

With respect to the day: it is because of the order presented here in verse 5, in which evening is reckoned first—no doubt because the darkness was created before the light—that days throughout the Bible and in Jewish tradition generally are reckoned from evening to evening (specifically, from sunset to sunset). — Wechsler, page 64. 

first day (v.5) — I often wondered why God didn’t just create the universe instantly. As omnipotent God, He would have had no difficulty. The answer is found in the Ten Commandments. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:8-10). 

God set the pattern of creation in a week, for our benefit. The week is the only one of our time scales that has no astronomical basis. The day is due to the rotation of the earth. The year is the period of the earth’s orbit. The month approximates to the orbit of the moon. But the week has no astronomical basis. It is God’s time period, and it is man’s time period, created for us, because it is ideally suited to our needs.

Having decided that the week is a non-astronomical unit, we can say that the day most definitely is an astronomical unit. The day is caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis. It thus requires periods of light and darkness, and a rotation of the planet. It follows that in Genesis 1:3-5, we are witnessing God setting the earth spinning. In order to define day and night, we require light. So we read that God made light. Night occurs currently on the hemisphere of the earth pointing away from the sun. It follows that on day 1, there must have been a point source of light. Yet the sun itself was not made until day 4. 

There is nothing strange in all this. It is only because we have been evolutionized that we feel we cannot talk about light and day and night without reference to the sun. — Taylor, page 33-34.

He goes on at some length to propose that the Holy Spirit was the source of light until the creation of the sun. Maybe. I like Wechsler’s point about Revelation 22:5, where it says that God provides the light though eternity.

Posted in Genesis | Comments Off on Genesis 1:3-5

Genesis 1:2

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Before I read anything the commentaries have to say about this verse, I looked up the definitions of three of the words on Bible Hub.

without form = waste, formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness, desolation

void = emptiness, an undistinguishable ruin

waters = almost always translated “water.” The word is also sometimes used to mean waste, primeval deep, or, figuratively, that which is violent or overwhelming

Two main interpretations have been advanced to explain the expression “without form and void.” The first, which may be called the Original Chaos interpretation, regards these words as a description of an original formless matter in the first state of the creation of the universe. The second, which may be called the Divine Judgment interpretation, sees in these words a description of the earth only, and that in a condition subsequent to its creation, not as it was originally. — Scofield, page 1)

For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other (Isaiah 45:18).

This (Isaiah 45:18) is one of the Scripture passages that suggest the Divine Judgment interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2. This interpretation views the earth as having been created perfect. After an indefinite period of time, possibly in connection with Satan’s sin of rebellion against the Most High (see Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:12), judgment fell upon the earth and “it was [became] without form and void.” Another indefinite interval elapsed after which “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” in a re-creation of the earth. some of the arguments for this viewpoint are: (1) Only the earth, not the universe, is said to have been “without form and void.” (2) The word rendered “was” may also be translated “became,” as indicated above. (3) The Hebrew expression for “without form and void” is used to describe a condition produced by divine judgment in the only other two texts where the two words appear in conjunction (Isaiah 34:11; Jeremiah 4:23). (4) Such a prehistoric divine judgment would throw some light on Satan’s fall and the peculiar relation he seems to sustain to the earth. — Scofield, page 752.

Morris takes the opposite view. He sees verses 1 and 2 as part of the description of Day 1.

In initial creation was not perfect in the sense that it was complete, but it was perfect for that first stage of God’s six-day plan of creation. … When initially created, the earth had no inhabitants; it was “void.” The essential meaning, therefore, is: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth [or space and matter], and the matter so created was at first unformed and uninhabited.

The physical universe, though created, was as yet neither formed nor energized, and light is a form of energy. the absence of physical light means darkness, just as the absence of form and inhabitants means a universe in elemental form, not yet completed. No evil is implied in either case, merely incompleteness…. The picture presented is one of all the basic material elements sustained in a pervasive watery matrix throughout the darkness of space.

The term “face of the waters” is synonymous with “the face of the deep.” Again the word “face” means presence,” and the thought is that the formless waters, like the formless earth, were essentially a “presence” rather than a cohesive body. — Morris, page 50.

the Spirit of God = The Hebrew word for Spirit is also the word for “wind” and “breath.”

The “and,” according to Hebrew usage—as well as that of most other languages—proves that the first verse is not a compendium of what follows, but a statement of the first event in the record. For if it were a mere summary, the second verse would be the actual commencement of the history, and certainly would not begin with a copulative [ word connecting words or clauses linked in sense]…. We have, therefore, in the second verse of Genesis no first detail of a general statement in the preceding sentence, but the record of an altogether distinct and subsequent event, which did not affect the sidereal heaven, but only the earth and its immediate surroundings. — Pember, page 25.

Pember does believe that the gap probably contains, not only the fall of Satan, but the laying down of the earth’s strata, and possibly some pre-adamite beings. Again, I think the first, Satan’s fall, may have occurred then, but I do not believe the latter two.

The creation account picks up in 1:1 not with the very first act of creatio ex nihilo (“creation out of nothing,” for which one can refer to any number of other passages, such as Isaiah 44:24a; John 1:3; Hebrews 11:3), but rather at that point when, with the “raw materials” of creation already in place—i.e., darkness (space/black matter[?]), the sphere of the planet with its land and overlaying waters—and the angelic host standing ready to sin God’s praise (Job 38:4-7), He undertakes the first creative act that bears specifically on the good of man (hence the recurring assessment, “and He saw … that it was good”). It is precisely this reading of the first three verses, in fact, that has long been recognized by Jewish interpreters, following simply and naturally from the syntax of the Hebrew text, according to which verses 1-3 constitute one complex sentence, the first two verses being comprised of dependent clauses (i.e., setting up the “background” of the event) and verse 3 comprising the main or independent clause (i.e., describing the “event” itself). Precisely rendered, these three verses thus read: In the beginning of God’s creating the sky and the (dry) land—while the land was (still) uninhabitable and unproductive, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters—God said, “Let there be light.” and there was light. — Wechsler, pages 59-60.

As you can see, Bible scholars land in several very different places regarding these opening verses. All of them are very convinced that they are right. Morris, Taylor, and to some extent, Wechsler disregard the Gap Theory mainly to refute those who cram evolution into it. But that’s biased interpretation. I have long disagreed with those who try to hold hands with modern “science,” but I’ve suspected there was a gap.

Wechsler’s view that the Bible gives us the account of creation from the sole viewpoint of what God did for humanity is interesting, and one I haven’t heard before.

I am not convinced that that my surmise, recorded in the previous post, is right. But I still need to account for the fall of Satan, and I’m still reluctant to believe that it happened between the six days of creation and the fall of man. I could be wrong.

Posted in Genesis | Comments Off on Genesis 1:2