Sunday Service: First Breaths

Last week carried one simple premise, that on the seventh day of creation God rested. Now it may have seemed a little on the lazy side for me to simplify the lesson as I did, but you can be sure that this is not the end of the discussion on the seventh day. The idea of the day of rest; the very command by God that we adhere to a day of rest, is a prominent feature in much of the Old Testament, and even substantially into the New. In other words, we will be exploring the seventh day of creation in thorough detail during a later study. For now, it is enough that you should know that God rested on the seventh day, not because He needed a rest, but because He knew we would. He set an example for us to follow. We will see at a later date how crucial that seventh day was.

In the meantime, we move forward to Genesis chapter 2. We should note up front as we devote ourselves to this discussion that there is seamless transition from God’s rest on day seven to the “generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created” (Vs. 2:1). It is an important distinction as you will see further in this discussion  that we recognize the way in which the text transitions from the end of the account of creation in Chapter 1 to the detailed description of the account of creation with a focus on mankind in Chapter 2. The phrase “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens” (Vs 2:1 ESV) is both a closing of the initial account and an opening of the detailed account. This is not a transition from one account to another; if it were, “These” would not be the current generations, but rather “Those” would have been the generations. Another transitional phrase would be needed. Don’t worry, I’ll clarify shortly. So we begin.

“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:4-7 ESV).

A couple of notes first. You may recall on the third day of creation God brought forth the vegetation of the land: “And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:11 ESV). Yet here in the early stages of Chapter 2 we find that “No bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up” and we wonder how this coincides with what we read in chapter 1. In fact, much of what Genesis Chapter 2 offers has become a great point of debate over the years. The reason is in the very question we just posed: “If God commanded the earth to sprout vegetation on the third day, then why does chapter 2 talk about no vegetation being present yet?”

Chapter 2 of Genesis has been referred by some as a second creation. Essentially there are those who suggest that Chapter 1 was God’s first attempt at creation and it didn’t work, so He scrapped the whole project and started over. Putting aside the ludicrous idea that God made a mistake, let us focus on what is truly offered in the second chapter of Genesis.

We see first that the reason “No bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up” was because “the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground”. In other words, what we have in Genesis chapter 1 is a beautiful and powerful overview of the process of creation. In Chapter 2 we have a detailed account of the emphasis placed on the creation of mankind. You may remember that I made special note of the pinnacle of God’s creation. Mankind was the reason for creation; it was us that God wanted to create, and everything else was created to facilitate and accommodate us. Note that the reason there are no plants yet is because there was “no man to work the ground”.  What we see early, and throughout Chapter 2 is the detailed, precise account of the process of creation with a focus on its overall purpose, namely mankind.

And so what we have is essentially a barren landscape which has been prepped in accordance with God’s command on day three for the production of vegetation.

“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7 ESV).

On the sixth day of creation in the first chapter of Genesis we were introduced to that moment of creation when God had completed all the preparations for His greatest work: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26 ESV). The text goes on to say “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). Now, here in the early stages of Chapter 2, God tells us how He created man. We have often heard that mankind was created from the dust of the ground, but few of us realize that it is not until this point in the narrative; not until the detailed account of the creation of mankind do we learn how we were created. Chapter 1 gives us an overview of what God did; but here in Chapter 2 we learn how He did it. This is the whole premise of the chapter; to give greater insight into the creation of mankind. And why do we have this detailed account? Why does God not place such a grand emphasis on His creation of everything else? Did He not create the cosmos on day 4? The trillions of fish in the sea; the birds of the air? Of course He did! But mankind was His greatest creation! This is why we have Genesis Chapter 2; the focus of God’s love is intricately described in his earliest moments. Nothing else in all of creation was created in the image of God. Nothing!

And so mankind was formed from the dust of the earth and God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”. We stop here for now. I leave you with a question: What is the breath of life?


MEMORY VERSE: “But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler off the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe’” (Mark 5:36 ESV).

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Sunday Service: And What Did God Do?

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:1-3 ESV).

 

Today I rested.

I pray you had opportunity to as well. While it may seem strange, considering the course of our study, the absolute best way for me to convey to you the meaning of the text above was to rest. Take time at least one day a week to rest in the peace and the presence of the Lord. May your upcoming week be filled with the joy of Christ. Next Sunday, our study continues in depth.

God bless.

Sunday Service: What is Man That You are Mindful of Him?

“Then God said ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Genesis 1:26-28 NIV)

When God began His creative work it was with a purpose. What may come as a surprise is what that purpose was. On the first day God created the Heavens and the earth; He brought light into complete darkness and set the foundation for the rest of creation. On the second day, the sky was formed as an expanse between the waters above and those below. Day three was consumed by the creation of plants; every plant imaginable was set upon the earth and especially created to produce seeds which would in turn bring more of the same. The fourth day brought wonders beyond imagination. The vastness of the universe; countless stars and planets. Our own sun and moon was hung, as it were, in perfect position to facilitate life on earth. What a magnificent day indeed! On the fifth day God created the immense numbers of fish in the sea, and the glorious array of birds in the air. To this day, mankind has yet to discover them all. He commanded the fish of the sea and the birds of the air to increase in number, and they did as they were commanded. Then, on day six, God began His work by creating all the animals that roam the earth, even those that no longer exist, but He wasn’t done. Now we come to the purpose of God’s work; the reason behind each step in creation; now we come to the creation of man.

We would do well to remember all that came before us as a preparation for our own entrance into existence. Tis not pride which leads to this conclusion; it is the text itself. For nowhere else in all of creation do we see these words, “Let us make _____ in our image”. The God of creation, capable of speaking the cosmos into existence, saved His greatest work for the grand finale’ of His creation! Man alone is made in the image of God. Not the earth, nor the seas; the birds, the fish and the bees are all marvelous works, but created in the image of God they are not. The animals which roam the land, many who are of benefit and companionship to us, even they, with all their strengths and their amazing beauty are not created in God’s image. It is man whom God created in His own image. It is man for whom God created the heavens, the earth, the stars, and the wondrous beauty of all that we can ever experience! God stepped into a point in eternity and created you and me. And why did God create all the wonder of the universe for man? Why did God create Man at all? Because He loved us before the beginning of time. This is why the Psalmist says “Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:4 NIV).

There are several things of note in these passages.

First: “Us” and “Our”. These two words are critical to understanding the nature of God. While we will not delve deep into God’s triune nature here, it is important to address the basics. First we need to understand what is meant by “the Trinity”. In its simplest form, our God is one God comprised of three individual persons. Not three god’s; just one, but with three individual, unique persons. How is this possible? Simple. I have no idea. The truth is, while we cannot comprehend the Trinity, we do not have to. We need only understand that it exists and it is a crucial part of God’s nature. Now, you may be wondering how we know the “us” and the “our” in this passage references the Trinity. You may recall from our study on the first day of creation the phrase “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Gen 1:2 NIV). The spirit of God is the Holy Spirit spoken of often in the New Testament. You may have noted the lack of distinguishing separation in the phraseology used in Gen 1:2; that is because there is not distinguished difference in God’s purpose, regardless of which of the three persons carries out that purpose. That is why we see the Holy Spirit referenced as “The Spirit of God” without distinguishing that it is all together not God the Father, while it is yet still God the Father. Confused yet? We also have multiple references from Christ of His own divinity and union with God. “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30 NIV), as one example. While the Trinity is, in itself, a mystery, it is not meant to be a confusion. We are only meant to understand that the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit are all one God, and that is enough for now. See, no more confusion. J

Second: “So that they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Vs. 26).  There is an authority which was placed on mankind from before his creation. Man was always meant to rule over the earth. It is our domain; created for us by the God who loves us. Oh but the sorrow is that we have given that authority over to another (More on that in a later study). For now, it is paramount to our understanding of our place in creation that we recognize the authority placed in us even before we were created. For it is in the same breath in which God says “Let us create man in our image”; this was the pronouncement, not the act. It is only after God declares man’s authority over the creation that He then brings man into existence.

Third: “Male and female He created them” (Vs. 27). There has been much confusion regarding this phrase and its relationship to the whole of chapter 2 in the book of Genesis. We will not go into detail here as we have that very study coming shortly. However, what we can note here with confidence is that God created man and woman together, though the text here does not answer the how (that is chapter 2), we can be confident in the what. Man and woman, created by God, in His image with dominion over all of creation…”Male and female He created them”. This is an important distinction when we discuss contemporary ideologies regarding appropriate relationships as much as it is an imperative point in understanding the relationship between man and woman.

Finally: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Vs. 28). It was God’s expressed intent that mankind “fill the earth and subdue it”. This refers back to God’s decree when He first mentions the creation of man; that our place is as the overseer, the ruler if you will, of creation, not of the Creator however. Here God commands man to take dominion over the creation. How often we find ourselves in the position where we think it our place to tell God what He should be doing. Be wary, be vigilant, for it is not our place to command God; we are here as the head of creation, but we are still the created.  This also speaks back to the point made earlier, that mankind is God’s greatest creation; else, why would He command man to rule over all that had been created before? All that came before this was for mankind. Rejoice in what God has created for you!

“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day” (Genesis 1:29-31 NIV).

So God has created everything in heaven and on earth. All that we every see; all that we will ever discover is now present on the conclusion of the sixth day of creation. A couple of closing points.

First: Note that God gives man every seed-bearing plant and every tree with fruit for the purpose of his nourishment. He gives the same to all the animals. Specifically, God gave mankind vegetables and fruits for food and the same for animals. At this point in history man does not consume meat; nor are there animals which are carnivores. While we will get to the explanation of why this is different now in a later study, it is enough at present that we note that the beginning moments of creation do not have death present. There is no killing of animals for food, nor do animals consume each other. This is not an argument for not eating meat, I enjoy a good burger or steak as much as the next. Yet it is critical that we recognize here and now the serenity of creation at its beginning moments. Death does not hold any account over the creation and mankind is in charge of all that God has placed on the earth, and there is harmony. Remember that.

Second: “God saw all that He has made, and it was very good” (Vs. 31). We made a big deal out of God’s use of the word “good” noting that what is good in God’s eyes is perfection. So why is the statement here different? It could be that God looked upon His completed creation and noted that all was in perfect harmony according to plan. Perhaps it was because of His foreknowledge of the destruction that was to come. Or it was God’s allowance to the writer to embellish this final point of creation for the sake of human readers. While all are plausible explanations, it seems most likely that the second of the three is closest to accurate. God looked upon the completion of His creation, and knowing what destruction, pain, and suffering was coming at the hands of man, made note that here at this point, it was beyond perfection, if there is such a thing. Regardless of whether or not that is accurate, we can know for certain that God looked upon His completed work and was satisfied.

While creation itself is complete, there is another day in the account and we shall cover it in the next study as it is crucial to our understanding of the transition the writer uses.


Memory Verse for the Week:

“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4 ESV).

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

While the expectation of this week was to study the final act of God’s creation; it is only appropriate that we take pause from our current study to focus on the purpose of today’s celebration. Across the globe little children, my own included, will be searching diligently for hidden eggs; they will consume quantities of chocolate bunnies beyond our comprehension. However, the Easter bunny, the eggs, the candy and little baskets, they have nothing to do with the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Though these things come from a pagan holiday, I do not condemn them, they are fun for the children, and I love decorating eggs and hiding them from my precious little ones. Yet we must be diligent in teaching our children the true meaning of Easter, and we can only do so if we are armed with the knowledge. Today we celebrate the greatest triumph in history! Today we celebrate the risen Christ!

“And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8 ESV).

“But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him’” (Matthew 28:5-7 ESV).

While I would love to take the time to fully explore everything having to do with Christ’s death and resurrection, that is something we will take full account of when we reach that place in our study. However, I would be derelict in my duty to Christ if I did not take a few moments to ponder, study, and share the wondrous beauty that is Christ resurrected.

Good Friday was but a few days ago, and it is a celebration of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. You may wonder why we would celebrate the death of our Lord. If not for His sacrifice, we would still be locked in rebellion to God; we would have no means of reconciliation to Him and would be condemned to hell for all eternity. Too strong of an image for you? It is the reality of the fallen world we live in. We are but a short stroll away from our study of the saddest moment in the history of the human race. That moment in which the first two humans; created by God; living with God; chose to defy Him and began a rebellion against the throne of heaven. It was in that very moment that mankind was condemned. If that image makes you squirm, then you are in the right place. If it does not, trust me, you are definitely in the right place.

Yet God, in His infinite wisdom, already knew this would happen. Despite this, He loved us enough from before creation that He brought us into existence anyway. There was a penalty to be paid for rebellion though; that penalty is death. But our loving Father had already devised a way in which we could have our sentence commuted; our execution stayed. Through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many” (Romans 5:12; 14-15 ESV Emphasis Mine).

Jesus Christ upon the cross, paying the penalty of death for the sins of all of mankind; one sacrifice for all sin. It was gift! It is a gift! That is what grace is all about! Jesus Christ gave Himself as the ransom; the penalty; the punishment; He gave His life so that you do not have to. That is why we celebrate the death of Christ upon the cross, for it is in this one act, above all others, that God demonstrates His love for us. If your creation was not enough to signify His love for you, how much so should His sacrifice be?!

Now you say to me, ‘but we are all going to die’; this is true, but not in the way you think. There are in fact two deaths; that which we must all encounter as our bodies give out from the wear and tear of a hard life lived in a fallen world. But there is a second death, one which is far worse than the first. The death of the soul; when the spirit of a man is separated from God eternally in hell.

“He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death” (Revelation 2:11 NIV).

“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death” (Revelation 20:14 NIV).

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8 NIV Emphasis Mine).

That is the punishment of death which sin carries. It was that death that Christ overcame; that death that Christ took in our place!

It is for this reason we celebrate His resurrection. See, if Christ died on the cross for our sins but remained in the grave, then He was nothing more than an ordinary man with an extraordinary message. But if Christ be risen, death could not hold Him; He could not be defeated by the penalty of death; a penalty which exists because of mankind’s rebellion to God.

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14 ESV).

But He has been raised!

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20 ESV).

This is the glory of God; the love of our Creator! Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice in order to pay the penalty of death that was owed by all of mankind. It is for this reason that our sins are forgiven. Ahhh, but He rose again from the grave after three days; He defeated death! It is for this reason that we live eternally in heaven alongside Him!

On this day we celebrate the victory of Christ over sin and death, knowing that His victory is our victory!

On this day I urge you, my fellow man, to renew your relationship with Jesus Christ; the only way out of the mess we are in; the only means of your reconciliation to God. There is no price; it is a gift there to be received by all who take hold of it. Are you alone? Afraid? Wondering why you are here? Do you wonder at your purpose in life? Do you fear death? Now is the time! Right now! Because of the love of Christ I am a new man. If you had met me before I was saved and saw me today, you would not recognize me. I am a new creation. The old has been washed from me. I am redeemed. Set free from the bonds of slavery that sin held me in. All because of the love of Christ.

If you do not have a part in Him, He will not have a part in you. But there is hope. His love extends far beyond anything we can imagine. He takes the weak, the weary, the wicked, the lonely, the skeptical, the sinful, the mean and nasty; He takes all of the worst in mankind and says “I forgive you, and I love you”. This is not a love that can be comprehended by you, or by me. It is a love that runs deeper than the creation itself. And you can experience this love, right here, right now!

It is literally as simple as admitting to Christ that you are a sinner, and asking Him to forgive you. His answer is always yes so long as your heart is true. Think you are not a sinner? Think you can stand the rod of judgment? Think again. Have you ever lied? Even a little? Lusted; stolen; cursed God’s name; cheated; hated? We can be sure of one thing when it comes to sin. A “good man” according to our standards is a wicked man according to God’s standards. Do you think His standard too high? Can the Creator of heaven and earth not have high standards? Of course He can! And they are too high; too high in that we are un-able to reach them on our own. Oh but the love of Christ carries us to heights un-imaginable. Do you wish to know Him as I do?

You have but to ask Him and He will change you. If you desire to have your life changed for all eternity; to know and feel the un-ending love of Christ, repeat these words,

“Lord, I know I am a sinner and incapable of paying the penalty for that sin. I know that you died on the cross to pay the price for me. Please forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Make me a new creation. Take control of my life and teach me to live as you would have me live. Thank you for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

It really is that simple! That is what Easter is all about. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ so that you could say those few words with a true heart, and have your life changed forever. If you took the time to say that prayer and you wonder where to go next, please feel free to contact me directly and I would be honored to help you begin your studies. If you would like to share your experience and encourage others, please use the comments section.

I pray God’s blessings upon you and your family, and I pray that we each remember the depth of God’s love in His sacrifice for our inequities.

Happy Easter. He is Risen!

Sunday Service: Lions and Tigers and Bears….Oh My!

May I first begin with apologies for the tardiness of this posting. I had family in town this week and they left a few hours ago allowing me the time needed to finish this lesson. I am so excited about what is ahead of us and yet must restrain my jubilation in order to limit the size of these posts, for I want you to take in all that the Word of God has to offer. I pray this week’s lesson blesses and benefits you, and as always, I welcome your comments and questions both here on the sight, and via email if that is your preference. Shall we begin?

“And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: Livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:24-25 NIV)

Now here we are on the sixth day of creation and we are in eager anticipation of what is to come, but first we must review that which God creates first on day six. Every animal that walks upon the ground is brought forth on this day; not the fish of the sea or the birds of the air, those were created on the fifth day. Here on day six, only those things which walk upon the ground are created.

We should note a few things. First: God makes the living creatures out of the land itself. “Let the land produce living creatures”; while we know full well that God could have used any means He deemed reasonable to produce the creatures of the land; He chose to use the land itself to create the creatures which would walk upon it.

Why? You may ask. I don’t have an answer to that accept to say that it is of little consequence. We might make the argument that it is because they come from the earth that animals, like man, erode and disintegrate back into the earth as they decompose after death. Perhaps this was part of the cycle that God had in mind. Regardless of His reasons for creating animals from the earth itself, we can be sure, as in all things, that it was part of a perfected plan which God put into motion.

We can note second that the land produced living creatures “according to their kinds:” We explored this concept a little when we discussed the creation of vegetation and when we covered birds and fish. In its simplest form, a goat does not produce a squirrel, nor can the union of two cows result in a basset hound.

But what about this?

Zebra-Pferd Eclyse im Zoo Safaripark Stukenbrock

This is no altered image. That is indeed a zebra and horse cross breed. “That’s not reproducing after their kind” you say. Well, actually, a Zebra, a Donkey, and a Horse are all similar creatures and cross breeding among them is not that un-common. While we might consider them to be different species, they are actually derived from the same family of species. This is not a result of evolution but rather a direct integration in God’s design. Consider the cross between a Male Donkey and a Female Horse; you get a mule. Feel free to research for yourself, but you will find that Mules perform better than Donkeys when carrying heavy loads and when put into startling situations. What’s the point? Simple. God understood the needs of mankind from start to finish before He created anything. Allowing the mixing of animals within the same family maintains His command that they are produced after their own kind while providing mankind the ability to make use of the quality characteristics of two animals in one offspring…I.E. The Mule. The image above is the result of a Male Zebra, which is similar to a Donkey, and a Female Horse, but they are still producing after their own kind. Wasn’t that fun? J

Note third: All of the creatures which roam the earth are created on the sixth day; including mankind, though we have not discussed us yet. This means those annoying bugs that you hate so much; yes they too were created here on day six. I rather like the King James Version in this translation; “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind” (Genesis 1:25 KJV). That’s right folks, all those things that “creepeth” are made here on this sixth day. You can take a moment to give thanks for those cockroaches now 😉

Now there is some debate about things like Black Widow Spiders, or, dear me, Mosquitos. Why would God create such dangers; such nuisances? Prepare yourself because this might surprise you. Everything God made had perfect purpose from the moment He made it. That means the mosquito, the Brown Recluse, all those things that “creepeth” were put here for a reason and that reason was good! So why the pain or annoyance then? Simple. The fall. But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here so we will save that discussion for a later study. Suffice to say for now that there is nothing wrong with anything that creeps and crawls that is not the direct result of mankind.

So it is then that God has commanded that all creatures be brought forth upon the Earth. Matthew Henry (1700’s; who’s commentary I enjoy extensively) notes a critical point here. It is not that God gave over to the Earth the power to produce animals of its own accord as it were, but rather that God specifically commanded that those animals be brought forth from the Earth. We should be wary of any teaching or ideology that suggests the Earth capable of producing on its own. The Earth does not produce plants; they are produced after their own kind from the seeds which they bear. This is God’s work; His hand still active in creation; His command; it is not the Earth’s prerogative to do as it will. Indeed the Earth has no will of its own for it is not a living being of any sort. There is but one thing in creation that has been granted free will by the Father and that is mankind. The animals are brought forth out of the Earth not by the Earth. It is a distinguishing difference and one we would do well to pay attention to.

A semi-final note. God has created here in the beginning of the sixth day all those magnificent creatures that roam the Earth. Those which are for mankind’s use, and those which are for his sustenance. Even those which no longer exist because of various factors, whether it be the result of mankind’s over indulgence in hunting an animal for a prized pelt, or the effects of changes in climate. We can be sure that God knew well in advance which creatures would not survive until the final days, and yet He created them all the same and all with purpose. Which leads to one of those oft asked questions. “What about these?”

walking_with_dinosaurs_3d-1920x1080

Dinosaurs! We all know full well they must have existed. After all, there are no shortages of full sized fossils of dinosaurs are there? So how do we reconcile a creature that has clearly died out long ago with the concept of a literal six day creation account? Science says that dinosaurs roamed the Earth between 230 and 65 million years ago. If this is true, then the six days of creation doesn’t add up, as that would make the Earth somewhere around 6-8 thousand years old. It seems a difficult conundrum to face for those of us who take Scripture at its face value but it is in fact not as difficult as it seems.

There is a passage in Scripture which comes in a later study but one which benefits our discussion at the moment as well. “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28 NIV). We can be sure first that God did indeed create dinosaurs, and He created them right here at the beginning of day six. Later, when we reach the passage above, we will be in deep discussion on the creation of mankind. It was our destiny to rule over every creature which graced the Earth; one we will see carried out just after the creation of mankind. However, there is a much more sorrowful tale to tell. Mankind was, and is still, disobedient to God. As a result, much of the blessing first bestowed upon mankind was lost. While we will discuss this in great depth when we reach that crucial point in Scripture, for now it serves only to highlight a single purpose in our discussion but one that is critical to our understanding of the earth’s timeline and how it relates to these creatures here.

As we will see very soon, mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. It was intended that way from the beginning, and it was our destiny, our very command, to rule over everything in creation. However, the relationship between mankind and the earth (which includes all that is in it; animals, plants, etc.) was broken the moment mankind broke his relationship with God. Mankind gave up his dominion over all the earth to Satan in that fateful moment which has brought so much pain to us all. Yet something as powerful and destructive as a Tyrannosaurus Rex could surely have subdued mankind in the time of Adam and Eve. Though mankind had separated himself from God, God did not abandon mankind. It seems most reasonable to suggest that God simply destroyed those creatures, namely dinosaurs, which were now an immediate threat to the existence of his greatest creation. This would certainly explain both the existence of dinosaurs and their ‘disappearance’ in such a short time frame in relation to the age of earth.

Now there is no Scriptural evidence which supports or refutes this idea, nor is there a legitimate reference to dinosaurs, though an obscure few exist. “Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox” (Job 40:15 NIV). Of course the present tense use of the term ‘look at’ suggests something present which Job could see. What of “May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan” (Job 3:8 NIV), or “There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there” (Psalm 104:26 NIV). Here again, the present tense use of the term ‘frolic’ suggests something visible to the writer of the Psalm. So though there are plausible references to dinosaurs, there are no solid passages to indicate them. Yet we know they were here for their bones are not the hoax of Nebraska Man, http://cavern.uark.edu/~cdm/creation/shame3.htm ;they are found globally and often in full form.

So it is with little doubt that we accept the existence of dinosaurs and with confidence that we can suggest God’s decision to remove them from the earth upon the fall of mankind. For we have strong arguments in favor of six days of creation and therefore, reason to believe that 230 to 65 million years ago the world did not exist. And it is to that time frame that I finalize this lesson. Note the disparity in the timeframe that is suggested for dinosaurs to have roamed the earth. There is a difference of 165 million years! That is no mere disagreement among scientists, but a clear inability to provide legitimate evidence. We do not need science, though it is a great benefit in so many things, it does not provide all answers, and we must be careful to weigh those answers it does provide against the rod of Scripture. Science, like all things, is the creation of God; for it was God who created the mind for science and the laws by which it is bound. It is Scripture we must turn to first if we seek answers. This does not discount science, for as you know by now, I have nothing against science accept where it seeks to remove God from His rightful place.

I leave you with a teaser for next week:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26 ESV).

I ask you, and you may feel free to leave an answer in the comments section, who is “us” and “our” in this passage?

May you have a blessed week filled with the love of Jesus Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit under the guidance of God the Father.

In His name.

Sunday Service: Fly on the Wings of Eagles

This week’s study is a short one which is atypical for me. However, we have a few studies coming up in the near future which will be extensive. I pray this week’s work speaks to you, and encourage you to visit other parts of our page, and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments. May God bless and keep you all.

“And God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.’ So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day” (Genesis 1:20-23 ESV).

To this point, the only living things that have been created are plants. But here, on day five of God’s wondrous work we see the creation of living breathing creatures. Those which fill the heavens and those which fill the seas. The wonder and beauty of these creatures is often a sight to behold. And yet, it is not the greatest of God’s creations!

Consider first God’s spoken word once again. “And God said”; how often we have viewed this phrase already and yet it still produces awe. That God speaks and the water swarms with life of every imaginable size and shape! That God speaks and birds fly gracefully through the air as though they are not subject to gravity. “And God said”. What our Lord and Creator says comes to pass. We see His command over creation in the account itself and we can take confidence in those things He says. When God says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV) then we know that we can find rest in Him. We can trust in what God tells us because we know that what God says is always what comes to pass. God did not say “let birds fly above the earth” and then produce not a single bird which flies. Indeed, God said “let birds fly above the earth” and daily we see birds, in the thousands and millions, flying above the earth! Why are they there? “And God said” That is why.

See for yourself just a tiny fraction of God’s creation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Q-EbX6dso

And so God created all of those creatures which rule the sea, and those which dance on the air. And here we see that phrase again “according to their kinds”. This is God’s design and remains His design to this day. An eagle does not produce a pigeon, nor a hummingbird a crow. Each of these creatures are designed “according to their kind” and each multiplies in like fashion.

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And the same can be said for the multitudes of fish in the sea.

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And it is to God alone that we can attribute this beautiful array of color and grace! Yet this is not God’s greatest creation.

We must be weary of those ideas which insist anything other than God’s hand in creation. Those who suggest that God created all the substance for what we see and then let evolution take its course, or those who remove Him all together, chanting to nature as though it were a god. The Scripture does not say that God created eggs for some birds and then let nature take over to see what came of it. No! We see here on day five all the birds of creation brought forth in one single instant. God commands and creation springs forth life!

Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26 NIV). Though the heavens swarm with birds and the oceans teem with life, they are only backdrops to the purpose of creation!

Note last, God says “Be fruitful and multiply.” God has created all that is before us, but He has also provided a means for which His creation can produce after itself. Birds still only bring forth more birds, but God in His wisdom set things in order so He would not need to make birds or fish or any animal again. He has created each creature as it was meant to be from the beginning. Now I know there are those who want to argue about adaptations in favor of evolution. I will simplify this argument; adaptation and evolution are two different things. It is true that many species in our own lifetimes have made adaptations to their environments. Does this mean God created them imperfect? Of course not! Instead it shows His perfection in their creation all the more. That God made them in such a precise manner that at the exact moment they would need to adapt to something, they adapted. Not a second sooner or later. Only a wondrous God such as mine could do something like that.

And so it is that God completes this fifth day’s work with those words we have become intimately familiar with “and there was evening and there was morning”. Having pressed this argument on several points already, I will make just one here as a reminder to our oft questioning souls. If a “day” in the creation account represents a length of time any longer than a day elsewhere in Scripture, then why does God not tell us of the change? God did not intend for confusion in the account of creation, but rather for clarity. It is for this reason that the term which constitutes a day is repeated over and over; to clarify the matter for us. Do not be fooled by crafty arguments which try to make a case for anything other than what Scripture tells us. Show me an argument that “proves” the world is older than Scripture says, and I’ll show you a host of world renowned scientists who refute it. No, there is no need for confusion here.

God bless.


MEMORY VERSE FOR THIS WEEK:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 ESV).



Sunday Service: The Wonder of the Universe!

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day” (Genesis 1:14-19 NIV).

Now into day four of the account of creation and we are presented with the evidence of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and yet left asking questions about the separation of light and dark; the observance, as it were, of what constitutes a night and a day. After all, did not God separate the light from the dark and establish night and day on the first day of creation?

“God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day” (Genesis 1:4-6 NIV).

You may recall that we noted the light which was brought forth on the first day of creation was not that of the sun, nor were the stars present during that opening act. It is indeed clear from the Scripture which describes the fourth day of creation that the Sun, the Moon, and even the Stars did not exist until this point in history. We might be tempted to ask why God did not create these things on the first day; after all, it was then that He brought forth the light. However, attempting to determine why God did something that has no reasoning within our finite intelligence is a tricky road to travel upon. While we might come up with several theories as to why He chose to wait until day four to create these magnificent beauties, we would likely find ourselves going in circles. It is enough for us to note that God had a purpose behind His order of creation, and even if we were able to determine what that purpose was, it would not change the state in which we find ourselves today; it would not bring us closer to God, nor would it suddenly open our eyes or our minds to anything of consequence. Despite this, there is still much to learn from the events of day four in creation.

Note first:

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night”

We have already noted that the day and the night were separated on the first day of creation. The purpose in the text here is more to reveal which light being created now serves which purpose. If I were to ask you which light of God’s creation rules the day; the answer would be ‘the sun’. There is no confusion on the issue, and here, the writer indicates simply that God has created those lights which separate the day from the night. Namely that the sun is created as well as the stars.

You may note that I mentioned the moon as well. While it is true that for many years mankind thought the moon produced its own light, and it is only in the last few centuries that we have learned that the moon merely reflects the sun, it does not mean that the writer was trying to indicate the moon produced its own light. Rather I mention the moon because it seems to me that this text indicates not only the creation of the sun and the stars, but it really is the creation of the entire universe! Prior to this point in the narrative, God’s sole focus has been upon the earth; now we see Him creating the cosmos. While the text does not directly say that God created the planets of our universe, we can be sure that the creation of all the stars was at this point and we can reasonably surmise that the planets of the universe other than Earth were created as well.

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This photo was retrieved from: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/moon/images/7680394/title/moon-photo

With that in mind, we should also note that the text separates the light which governs the day and that which governs the night from the stars. In other words, it is indeed possible that the light which governs the night was, and remains, the moon. Though we know from our understanding of the moon today, having visited it in person (not me of course) that it is merely the reflection of the sun; we also know that, that reflection produces an enormous amount of light at night. So while I am certain the moon itself is not a light, the text gives the indication that it is the moon being discussed in relation to the light which rules the night. However, what is most important is for us to understand that this fourth day of creation has brought forth the cosmos. That wondrous, seemingly un-reachable vastness which so captivates us.

Note Second:

And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so.”

God intended the stars of the sky, the position of the sun and the moon and everything we have discovered in the cosmos to serve a purpose. Nothing is arbitrary; there are no “fillers” simply because God wanted to throw something in the mix as it were. Each and every aspect of creation has a distinct purpose, and while we may not be aware of every purpose, we can be sure that God is; and such purposes are revealed to us as they become necessary. We can also use this same text to support our discussion above regarding the moon and perhaps even the other planets. The Jewish calendar, which was in place when Moses wrote the book of Genesis, uses the cycles of the sun, moon, and stars as a measurement of time throughout the year. Since we see clearly that it was God’s intention for this part of creation to “serve as signs to mark the seasons and days and years,” we can be relatively certain that the moon and other planets were part of this day’s work.

Note Third:

The lights “in the expanse of the sky” are to mark seasons, days, and years. There is an important aspect to this wording here which relates to a portion of our study on the first day of creation. Here God indicates that the lights created on day four are to be used in marking (measuring) days. We established early on in our study that creation took place over the course of six literal days. Whenever we attempt to understand and interpret Scripture, our first source of material to consult is always Scripture. If we believe that we have interpreted something within the text that is somehow contrary to something else found anywhere in the Bible, then we can be sure that we have misinterpreted one or the other. In other words; Scripture will never contradict Scripture. If it does, then one of the interpretations is wrong. Let me give you an example:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV)

In the King James Version of the Bible the word “Shall” is exchanged for the word “should”. So the verse reads “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish” (KJV). Here is where the trouble occurs. There are two possible uses of the word “should”. In one sense the word indicates an obligation or duty; something that must come to pass; a necessity or requirement. In this sense, the verse in the King James version would mean that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will not perish, but will have eternal life. However, the word “should” can also be used to indicate something that is probable, but not necessarily a guarantee. If used in this sense, the verse would mean that whoever believes in Jesus Christ might live an eternal life, but then again they might not. Where’s the rub? How do we determine which is correct? We use Scripture.

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21 NIV)

“They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31 NIV)

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NIV)

And for good measure…

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21 KJV)

The point here of course is that we must refer back to Scripture in order to interpret something in Scripture. If we suggest the wording in the King James version indicates that we might or might not have eternal life, we must support that idea with other Scripture; clearly Acts and other books of the Bible indicate that such an interpretation of John 3:16 would be incorrect.

Where is all of this taking us? We see nothing in Scripture that indicates a day is anything other than a day. When the Israelites use a day as a form of reference, they use the same term that God uses in the creation of the heavens and the earth and all that is in our universe. Neither is there anything in Scripture which might indicate that what God considers a day in creation is a different timeframe than what a day is later in the Bible. In other words, there is nothing indicative of a change in the timeframe that equals a day. Now I know this has been discussed at length, and will probably come up again later, but we shall put the issue to rest for now and move on to the rest of day four, as there is so much to discuss!

“God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.”

So God has made the lights which govern the day and night; all the stars and wonder and beauty of the universe is laid before us. We have the sun which provides us warmth and light, and we have the stars which guide us…and all of them profess the glory of God.

“And God saw that it was good.”

Now we have covered this phrase quite extensively already, but we have a unique opportunity in the fourth day of the creation account to better understand what “good” really means. Now laid before us is the majesty and wonder of the universe; a universe which contains an estimated 25 sextillion stars (That’s 25 with twenty-one zeros after it). It is believed to be as much as 20 billion light years in diameter. By way of comparison, light travels at about 186,000 miles per second. This is the universe of creation on day four! This is the majesty of God seen in an explosive display of marvelous wonder! And yet, it is not His greatest creation.

Nonetheless, let’s explore a thing or two about this marvelous beauty. One of the greatest debates in science is whether or not the universe is a created thing, or the result of pure happenstance. Yet when we view the world around us, and even the cosmos, we find strikingly awesome examples of our God. Paul the Apostle said, “What may be known about God is plain to them [mankind] because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20 NIV). And how is it plain to us? How do we recognize the eternal power and divine nature of God in the creation around us? The ways are numerous, but for this study, let’s focus on what we can see of God in the universe itself.

Patrick Glynn, who currently works as the Senior Technical Policy Advisor for the Office of the Deputy Director for Science Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy had this to say regarding the precise nature of our universe. “all the seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common—these are precisely the values you need if you want to have a universe capable of producing life” (Glynn, 1997). Put another way, if the physics of the universe were not so precise; so exact, then life would not be able to exist here. That’s a staggering fact when you consider the size of our universe! The possibility of all of the necessary factors for life to exist in the universe coming together by mere chance are so large that the figure written down would have you seeing zeroes in your sleep for years to come. Don’t worry, I won’t put you through that. The point of course is that many, many prominent scientists in all fields of study have indicated that the complexity of life and the precision of the universe all point toward an intelligent design; “being understood from what has been made”…

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This photo was retrieved from:http://imgkid.com/amazing-real-pictures-of-the-universe.shtml

Even the world renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has said that it is likely some form of intelligence was behind the creation of the universe. The simple truth of Scripture is being proven time and again by the rational process of science. On this fourth day of creation God brought forth a wondrous and amazing universe with beauty near un-imaginable to our finite minds.

pillars of creation

This photo was retrieved from:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pillars_of_Creation.jpeg

gas formation

 This photo was retrieved from: http://pixshark.com/the-pillars-of-creation.htm

“And God saw that it was good.”

Indeed God saw that it was perfect. How I marvel at the beauty and splendor of God’s creation when I look to the stars. And still, this is not God’s greatest creation!

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day”

And so we come to the conclusion of our discussion on the fourth day of creation. The wonder of the universe is now before us. What more is there to say?


MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”” (Genesis 1:26 NIV). 

Sunday Service: And God Said…And it Was So.

“And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry ground ‘land,’ and the gathered waters He called ‘seas.’ And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day” (Genesis 1:9-13 NIV)

Now into day three of the account of creation and we find a busy day ahead. Having already established the Earth in its proper position, and possibly even begun its rotation; the skies have been formed and the earth is ready for its first inhabitants…sort of.

Note first: That repeated phrase “And God said…” It is crucial to our understanding of creation that we recognize God’s supernatural qualities. God speaks, creation responds. We noted this before, but it is beneficial for us to review it here again. There is no hesitation as though the creation has a mind of its own. There is no time-lapse in which creation says ‘I think I will give this process a few million years’; indeed creation has no mind of its own, nor was it a process of happenstance and accidents. “God said”; that is enough; that is all that is needed. God speaks, and what He speaks comes to pass. If only we responded as creation at its beginning; instant obedience to the will of our Father and our Creator.

Note second: God distinguishes the “water under the sky” when he commands it to be gathered in one place. Having already discussed the second day of creation, it is enough here to remember that God’s plan of action has purpose. God chose only to separate the waters above and below the earth on the second day; an act we might consider small in comparison to the rest of His creative work. However, even here, God notes that it is the waters He specifically designated to remain under the sky which are to be gathered together.

“Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear”

Here we start to recognize the earth as it is today. Though it still lacks so much of its splendor, God commands the waters to recede and the land to come forth. Nearly all of the dry land of the earth appears here on day three. It should be noted quickly that I specifically say “nearly all” because anyone with any understanding of the science of geography or geology knows that there are islands being “born” even today from volcanoes around the globe. This, as with everything, is perfectly in accordance with God’s plans. It is no theological leap to determine this to be a part of God’s plan any more than it is a scientific leap to recognize the existence of these islands. An example of this wonder of God’s creation can be seen here in the modern age; feel free to have a look for yourself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9v1zsqkjMs

What is important to recognize here is the creation of the land on which most of us live. The great continents of the world are brought forth on this third day. There are those who suggest that at one time all of the earth’s continents were actually one single mass of land as seen in the picture below.

Certainly we can see a distinction in some of our shorelines which provides plausibility to such a theory, though it is admittedly a stretch. The scientific theory suggests that somewhere in our ancestral heritage, mankind began to migrate throughout this single continent (this is only one among several theories) and this is the explanation for both the diversity and similarities in cultures. Many of you may remember a phrase in Scripture which appears to paint a different picture.

“So the Lord dispersed them from there [Babel] over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city” (Genesis 11:8 ESV).

While we will explore this passage in-depth and context when we get to it, it is only appropriate to address a point here which relates to our current discussion. While we know full well that God dispersed mankind throughout the earth at this point in history, what we do not know is specifically how He went about that dispersion. We do know from verse 9 of the same chapter above that God “confused the language of all the earth”. This leads to the conjecture that mankind separated themselves due to an inability to understand each other; a reasonable assumption. However, it is just as likely that God both confused their language, and physically moved them throughout the earth, especially in light of the phrase “So the Lord dispersed them”. What does this have to do with the picture above? While Scripture does not address a single continent, it does not refute it either (at least not anywhere I have seen). This brings us to a fundamental dilemma when trying to harmonize scientific theory with Scripture (you may remember that I noted earlier this is NOT necessary). However, when possible, there is nothing wrong with finding harmony between the two, for it was God who gave us the mind that lead to science. That being said, we cannot force such harmonization upon the Scriptures. Here we have an example of something science has posited that is plausible while not being refuted by Scripture. Being that Scripture does not clarify the matter for us, we can reasonably assume one of two possibilities. Either God, on the third day of creation, separated the land masses from one another, resulting in the continents we know today; or God, upon dispersing mankind throughout the earth separated the land masses into the continents we know today. Whether you choose to believe in the former, or the latter is of little consequence. What is of great importance in such a debate is the recognition of who separated the land masses. It was God. Any attempts to force Scripture to fall in line with scientific theory is wrought with danger. Here, while there is no need to hold fast to one conclusion or the other regarding Scripture’s lack of evidence, there is a grave necessity to remember that regardless of the answer, it was God who carried out the act; not millions upon millions of years of development and evolution.

“And it was so. God called the dry ground ‘land,’ and the gathered waters He called ‘seas.’ And God saw that it was good.”

Now the waters are separated and the land has come forth at God’s command, and “God saw that it was good”. As we have already noted, when God determines that something is good, this is an indication that it is perfect, and we see here that God declares the formation of the seas, and the appearance of the dry ground to be perfect in accordance with His plans.

“Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.”

With the dry land present before us, God now sets to the task of creating the plants of the earth. All of the trees and bushes, every type of vegetation that we know of is brought forth here on the third day. There are some important aspects of God’s commands as He brings forth the plants of the earth and we would do well to take account of them.

First: Note that God specifically instructs that the “seed-bearing plants” will bear fruit with seed “according to their various kinds”. This is a distinction in that each seed which is produced by a plant, whether fruit or otherwise (note that vegetation and fruit plants are mentioned separately in the passage), the seeds which are produced by a plant are capable of producing only a plant according to its kind. In other words, the seeds from a tomato plant cannot produce an apple; nor can the seeds for a squash produce a coconut tree. We must recognize from the outset of creation, from the first things brought forth with life of any sort, for the seas and the land have not a life of their own, each ‘life’ is capable of producing life that is in accordance with its own kind. This in itself is contrary to any evolutionary theory. The idea that any species, given enough time, will change into another species is simply contrary to God’s design. There are adaptations within a given species, these are well-known and documented in most instances, but they are not representative of evolution, for evolution requires that one species must “evolve” into another, or that a species must “evolve” into a better version of itself; requiring a complete change from the original model. Nor is the idea that we as humans can make alterations to certain types of plants, (corn for example has been extensively altered by science), in any way contrary to the assertions of Scripture here. Has science ever brought forth a pumpkin from the seeds of a radish? Of course not! The idea is preposterous

Here God commands that vegetation and fruit bearing trees come forth upon the land and carry seeds within them capable of re-producing like vegetation and fruit bearing trees.

Second: While all of these plants are capable of reproducing after themselves, it is imperative to recognize the hand of our Creator in their initial design. Without the hand of creation, the mind of design, and the consideration of the future from God, none of these plants would exist. They do not exist on their own, they were created just as everything to this point has been created. That they are capable of re-producing is testament to God’s desire to give His creation a level of self-sustainability that it would otherwise lack. The same sustainability that could not exist in a world that came about by mere chance. The nature of the Big Bang, and evolutionary theory ultimately insists that the cycle must come to a conclusion. However, it is important as a final note to clarify that a level of self-sustainability does not equate to a disinterested, disconnected Creator. God did not create and then abandon His creation! He is ever present…a point we will be discussing in-depth later on, but also one that will recur in many of our studies. It is enough to note here that God ensured His creation was able to move forward free of His hands, but equally keeps His hands gently upon creation to guide and nurture it with the love of a Father.

Note third: “And it was so”. God calls forth the dry land, separating the waters into the seas “and it was so”. God commands, creation obeys. A point reiterated time and again in the account of creation. One that we should never grow weary of giving recognition to. It is the duty of creation to obey the creator.

“But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “why did you make me like this?”’”(Romans 9:20 NIV).

No, indeed that which is formed is formed with and for a purpose. Here, at creation, God forms all things and calls them to a purpose, it is only man who deems himself high enough to disobey that purpose.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will…according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 1:11; 3:11 NIV).

If you take but one thing away from this week’s study, please let it be that it is our purpose to live according to God’s will. For it was God who created each of us individually (a point I will address in adequate depth soon enough). All of creation obeys God without hesitation, without fail; all of creation but mankind. We are the crown of creation and we are the most rebellious.

“And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day”

Two quick notes here as we have covered them extensively already.

First: “And God saw that it was good”. Need I say more? It is perfect; it is as planned and ready to go forth in accordance with the whole of creation. If it were anything less than good, it would be bad and therefore unfit for God’s creation. It was good. We would do well to express ourselves with such simplicity and honesty. God does not distract us with extensive adjectives to describe His feelings of creation; He merely announces the sufficiency of what He has created. “It was good”.

Second: Noted here again, and something we should pay attention to. There are so many who want to equate scientific theory to biblical truth. Time and again, whether in school or on television, we are inundated with false “facts”. The entire account of creation explicitly announces its start and completion within a six-day time frame. Six literal days were spent by God in creating everything! Yet it is constantly pushed upon us that the earth is hundreds of billions of years old. How can this be? Is it possible that creation was not six literal days? No. The truth is so much simpler than the questions. “There was evening, and there was morning—the third day”. We have discussed days one, two, and three; including all that God created in each of these literal 24 hour days. Next, we will dive into day four and see the wonder of God continue in the creation of the beautiful universe around us.

Sunday Service: A Single Act for a Single Day

Last week we took an additional, and far more extensive look at the beginning moments of creation. This week we press forward into the second day of God’s magnificent work. With day two containing only a single act, the study is short and I considered a look into part of day three as well. However, after last week’s long study, and knowing that day three has a wealth of information for us to explore, I opted to keep this week short and focus only on the second day of creation. Please feel free to comment or ask questions as we continue in our study, and may the grace and peace of our Lord and Savior rest upon you in the coming days.

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.’ So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse ‘sky.’ And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day” (Genesis 1:6-8 NIV).

Day two begins as abruptly as day one ends and even ends as abruptly as it began. There is no need for any additional distinctions of time here, for we have already explored the terminology of a “day”. So it is then, that we dive directly into day two and we quickly find that though the work has begun, God seems to have reserved the larger projects for a later date. We know that the course of creation was not six days by necessity so much as it was simply six days by design. This is an important distinction that we would do well to keep in mind; God sets forth with a plan. There is purpose in everything He does; nothing is on a whim.

“’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NAS/ESV).

God’s plans go far beyond just the creation story, and we will explore them in depth as we continue. However, it is critical that we understand up front just what God’s ultimate purpose is regarding His plans for us. The verse above (Jeremiah 29:11) says that God has plans for our “welfare”. We often associate welfare with merely a helping hand, or even a handout; something that our pride refuses to accept. Something about the use of that word seems negative to our ears. However, while the word is appropriate, it is better understood in relation to its original Hebrew meaning. The word used here is one we are likely all familiar with; “shâlôm” which means completeness; soundness; or peace. In other words, God has plans for us that include peace and completeness. Day two of creation is a critical part of that plan. We would do well to remember, that plan is about mankind. The whole of creation comes before us in a startling array of wonder and beauty, but each act, each moment of creation was to compliment God’s greatest creation; mankind. Yes, despite our rebellion against God; despite our sinful nature and the way in which we so often turn our faces from Him; God’s greatest creation has always been mankind. We need look no further than the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross to verify this; for if God let pass 1/3 of His angels into darkness, and yet is not willing that even one of us faces that same fate…(That’s an intentional cliffhanger by the way). If that does not convince you, stick around, as we complete our study of creation we will quickly begin to see the grace of God and His never ending love for mankind.

Here, on day two, God limits His creative work to a single act; one we will return to in a later study; a study which may help us better understand God’s choice to limit day two to a single creative act. Here is a hint for a future study, and somewhere you may want to explore in the interim.

“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11 NIV Emphasis Mine).

For now it is enough to note a few key points about day two in creation.

Note first: God separates the waters upon the earth from the waters above it. We don’t really have much information to go on here, but there is purpose to be found in everything God does. We know the separation results in the sky; another term noted first by God. Like everything, there is purpose in God’s creation, and in later verses we will see the purpose for the sky. There is much confusion over what the waters above the earth refers to however. Science has explained the process in which water on the surface evaporates; changing from a liquid to a gas until it is cooled to the point in which it reverts again to a liquid. We might consider that the water which is separated above the earth is simply that which God first placed there to facilitate this process. However, there is something more to the text of Genesis 7:11 that may hold other clues as to the water above the earth as it is mentioned here. That we shall explore when we get to it.

Note second: God does not make any reference to whether the completion of this act is good or not. It is interesting in light of the fact that He specifically addresses each act of creation as good with the exception seen here, and with the exception of man.

“And God saw that it was good” (Vs. 10; 12; 18; 21; 25)

Despite what seems at odds with the rest of the creation account, we can be certain that God’s creation of the sky here, by separating the waters, was just as good as any other act of the creation process. However, either God did not feel the need to include this phraseology here, or the writer, viewing the single act as one of lesser importance, chose to omit it. This latter line of logic can be a slippery slope which we should be very cautious about traversing. While there is much indication in Scripture that God allowed the freedom of the writers’ personality to interact with the text, we should never forget that Scripture is still the result of God’s direct communication with the writer; it is not the act of a man deciding after a fact to record past events. We noted before that all Scripture is “God breathed”; a term meaning it comes directly from God to the writer. Any latitude given to the writers must surely have been with God’s approval. As such, we can be certain that God Himself saw no need to include the distinction here.

While there is little to explore in this second day of creation, there are two more critical points we should pay attention to. First, “and it was so”. God made an expanse between the water on earth and the water above it “and it was so”. There is no room here for ambiguity. God completes an act and it is finalized in that moment. Second, we see here again the text which indicates the completion of a single day’s work. Not an expanse of time, but a single day. A point we covered extensively when we discussed the first day of creation; however, it is worthy of note here and at the completion of each day of creation, if for no other reason than to remind us that God does not intend confusion, but rather clarity.

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day” (Genesis 1:8 NIV).

And so it is that day two comes to a rather quick completion, but the work, as we know, is not finished. The stage is set for the “form” of the Earth to be created, and we will see in day 3, God’s magnificent creation begin to take on life!

You may contact me directly at pilotandpastor@yahoo.com

Sunday Service: A New Beginning

Last week’s discussion of the beginning opened the pages of history for us, and revealed the simple complexity in answering the question ‘where did we come from’? However, there is so much more to say about those first moments; so many important aspects that I simply did not cover last week. As a result, I have taken the opportunity to re-explore those first moments here with a more extensive analysis. Fear not! I did not stop at the end of verse 1 as I did last week. I promised a completion to the first day of creation and I have included that this week as well.

While it makes for a rather lengthy lesson, I hope that you will explore all of what I have written here as I have covered many things on those first moments that I did not cover last week. It is my continual prayer that you will be encouraged and enlightened by the studies we conduct here.

Genesis 1:1-2

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (ESV)

The first two verses in the Bible give us the account of beginnings; while the whole of chapter one focuses on the process of creation, it is these first two verses which, more than anything else, introduce us to our creator.

Note first: “In the beginning, God…”; Not ‘In the beginning, BANG!’ It was God who created the heavens and the earth; not some cataclysmic event where the great accumulation of nothingness in space suddenly condensed into an unstable mass of something, and then exploded with no source of initiation; and in doing so, left behind the universe we see before us today. It was God who created all these things; God who stepped into the opening act of the history of the world and set forth the stage on which humanity would be cast. There is no indication in Scripture that this event was drawn out; that there was an extensive planning phase, and a pre-assembly to test the theory, though it can be fairly suggested that God, in eternity past, spent some semblance of effort into the planning of His creation (see John 17:24; Eph 1:4; 1 Pet 1:20 as examples). However, what we see clearly is the beginning of all that we know having been rooted in the divine act of God; that He would deem us worthy even before we were first formed is a testament to His love and devotion to us.

Some may insist upon the argument that God used events such as “The Big Bang Theory” or evolution to carry out His will in the creation and design of things. While this is a fair argument in relation to God’s use of HIS laws of nature to bring about His will, there is nothing in the text here to give merit to that argument. However, there is nothing explicitly condemning that line of thought either. While I consider such things, I must confess that my heart and my mind are in agreement here that the account of creation is exactly what we would expect it to be from an all knowing, all powerful, eternal God; that creation was a supernatural act that defies the laws of physics and cannot be explained with modern science. This is not to say that modern science has nothing to offer in things of faith, or in the processes of God; rather it is to say that here in this instance, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the idea that God did anything beyond what the text says. This account of the creation of heaven and earth, all six days, was not intended to be a mystery. The idea that our knowledge of modern science suddenly renders the supernatural ability of God un-necessary, and consequently impotent, is a disastrous road to walk upon. If we are to suggest that modern science is suddenly capable of explaining the supernatural acts of God, then we must either conclude that God’s acts are NOT supernatural, for the supernatural cannot be reconciled to science; or we are to conclude that God in fact had no part in the creation of the heavens and the earth. If God did not have a part in creation, then there is no reason to assume He exists. After all, what need do we have of a God who is incapable of actually doing what He said He did? If we cannot take the simple statement of Genesis 1 at face value, then how can we place our faith in Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our sins? If the Bible fails to make clear one of the most dramatic and important aspects in answer to the question “why are we here?”, then how can we trust the Bible to answer anything? The truth is far simpler than the question; it was God who created the heavens and the earth, and He did so by His will alone; the cosmic elements necessary for the “Big Bang” were created on the fourth day of creation as we will note later. The Bible says God created all these things; it does not say that God used His creation to create His creation, that is circular logic anyway.

Note second: The entire Bible encompasses three things; The creation of man by God; The rebellion of Man against God; and ultimately, the redemption of mankind through God. While the opening verses of the creation account might seem at first a strange place to address this concept, it is here that not only the first event takes place, but the outline of the next two events is so close at hand that there is barely a pause in between. It might be more appropriate, or perhaps easier to understand, if we were to say the entire Bible is actually about one thing; Jesus Christ. Jesus was present before the creation; He was present at the creation; He joined with the creation to provide redemption; and He is, therefore, the reconciler of creation. We can deduce for ourselves that the Triune God, that is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, were all present at, and participants in, the creation of all that we know. While most of this must be addressed later, at the very least, it is appropriate to address briefly the first here if we are to explore the Bible in relation to its foundation in Jesus Christ.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:1-3; 1:14).

The “Word” of course refers to Jesus Christ. John tells us that the Word was God and that the Word became flesh to dwell among us. From the beginning; before the beginning; IN the beginning, God was aware of all that would unfold in His creation. The plan for the reconciliation of mankind through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ was planned, prepared, and expected before the creative work began. It is an important note, for as we continue to read through the Scripture, we must always have our eyes focused upon Jesus Christ; the Creator, not the created; the redeemer, not the redeemed.

Note third: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.; while God is eternal, having always existed, the beginning of everything we know of life was at this moment in time. It is a strange concept when we consider that time is of no real consequence to God; at least not in the sense that it is to us. God does not have a beginning, and we see in these first few words the very notion that God already was, for if He was not, then how can He be the author of “the beginning”?. Yet the world and all that is in it must have a beginning for it was created by the One who has always been, that is God. So the very first phrase in the record of God’s interaction with mankind is appropriately focused on the beginning. This is the beginning of everything that is of concern to us; that is not to say there was nothing of significance which took place prior to this point, rather it clarifies that OUR beginning was here; the point in “time” where God began the work of creation that brought about the human race; the point in “time” where God laid the foundation stones of heaven and earth; the beginning of time. We should also be careful to note that Scripture reveals to us all that we need to know of God. That is, though there are surely many things that took place prior to the creation of the world and mankind, if God desired us to know these things, He would have told us. Instead we find here in the first few words of the Bible that God focuses the attention on us, for us. We should be very wary of seeking answers about the things of God from sources outside the Bible. That is not to say there are no such answers to be found; the historical accuracy of the Bible has been challenged on many occasions for example, and skeptic or not, one is hard pressed to argue against the secular writings of the first and second centuries which validate the very text of the Bible itself, but that is a discussion to take place further in this study. Suffice to say for now, in all things the Bible is sufficient;

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV).

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.” Having established that it was God who created the heavens and the earth, and having at least briefly focused on who God is, to the degree which we can understand Him, it is the earth itself which draws into focus. We see here that it was “without form” and that it was “void”.  It takes little guesswork or interpretive ingenuity to understand what is meant by “The earth was without form”; whether this is indicative of the earth not being the beautiful sphere we have seen in photos from space or not is unclear. We can suggest confidently however, that the physical attributes of the earth were not present at this point. This is of course clarified for us in later verses, where God gathers the water together creating both the seas and the land. That the earth was “void” however, is a more descriptive statement of the condition of the earth. The word used in the Hebrew text of the passage is bôhû which, according to Strong’s Concordance definition, is “From an unused root (meaning to be empty)”; in other words, the term void is used to describe emptiness. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since God had yet to conduct any act of creation upon the earth aside from the creation of the earth itself. However, it is important to not simply glaze over the term, as it sets the tone, or the stage for all that is about to take place. It is from this emptiness that God will bring forth all that the eye can behold; and it is from this emptiness that God will bring forth the crown of His creation. Out of nothing, God will create everything man needs, and then He will create man. Yet this emptiness, this lack of form is unseen, or rather un-seeable, for darkness covers everything. I rather like Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this matter when he says, “If there had been anything desirable to be seen, yet there was no light to see it by; for darkness, thick darkness, was upon the face of the deep. God did not create this darkness (as He is said to create the darkness of affliction, [(see Isaiah 45:7)], for it was only the want [or need] of light, which yet could not be said to be wanted till something was made that might be seen by it” (Henry,1705). In other words, while there was nothing of value for the eye to behold, we are told nonetheless, that there was utter darkness over everything. Yet it was not a darkness created by God, but rather a result of the lack of God’s light upon creation as He had yet to begin His work in earnest. Though there is nothing our eyes would have desired, it is important that we note the lack of God’s light upon the creation; for it is only in His light and the love of His embrace that we can find peace; it is only in the shadow of our God (Psalm 91:1) that we can abide in rest and comfort. Though there is nothing to see, it is important that we know there is nothing that can be seen either, for it is only in the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, that we avoid walking in darkness.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12 NIV).

So we have before us, or now behind us if you prefer, the very beginning of the beginning; that is, the moment in which God stepped into what we consider history to begin the work of creation and bring forth mankind from nothingness to His glory.

Genesis 1:3-5

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day” (ESV)

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’…”; it is a dramatic moment, now that the earth stands ready for creation; now that God sets to the task at hand; He does not bring forth laws of physics, nor does He use anything we might find in creation today to bring forth the light. God merely speaks and creation begins to blossom. We should never discount the supernatural nature of God. It was God who created the laws of physics to which we are bound, but to consider that God must hold to those laws during the act of creation, or beyond the completion of creation, is ridiculous. The very act of creating the laws of physics violates them! God is not bound to our understanding of science and nature; He is not limited to performing within a set of rules which He authored. God is above, beyond, and outside the realm of our understanding, and our first glimpse of His awesome power is seen here in that He spoke and creation obeyed.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Obedience to the command of God; creation responds with instant adherence to the command of the creator. God brought forth the light, removing the restricting darkness that covered all He had made to this point. Note there is yet nothing of value for the eye to behold, at least not in terms that we might think; but if we could be present at the moment of creation; standing, as it were, next to the creator, what a magnificent sight we would see indeed! Consider the overpowering  oppression of the darkness which covered everything; then, like a blast from a thousand horns at once, the Lord of creation speaks, and suddenly there is light, glorious beautiful light! This is not the light of the sun that we have grown accustomed to in our lifetime; that doesn’t come until the fourth day. No, this is the light of God’s glory encircling the infancy of His creation. Oh we might think there is nothing yet to see; no birds or trees; no oceans or mountains; but the glory of the light of God is a blinding beauty which we cannot fathom!

“As he [Saul, also known as Paul] neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied” (Acts 9:3-5 NIV).

While the discussion of Paul’s conversion is not the topic here, what is of note in this passage is Paul’s immediate reaction to the light of Jesus Christ. He fell to the ground. It is not likely that he stumbled (though that discussion is farther ahead of us). The light which encircled Paul on the Damascus road blinded him physically; a man named Ananias had to, through the power of Jesus Christ, remove the blindness from Paul’s eyes. This is the light which God brought forth on this first day of creation. The light of God shone forth and revealed the clay with which God was about to mold His finest work.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.” It is only necessary to briefly pause here, for we have established that the light was that of God Himself, and surely that light is good. However, we should note that God sets a standard here and now with the culmination of His first verbal act of creation. That is, God saw that the light was good; it was good in His eyes; pleasing to the Lord and therefore beneficial to His creation. It was not merely an acceptable light, though some might argue it was a temporary one (this we’ll address momentarily), but it was a good light. While we might consider good to only equate to adequate, God does not measure things on the scale of humanity. There is good and there is evil; our God has no need to distinguish between “levels” of good and evil for He knows above all what is and is not good. So we can take comfort in knowing that what God says is good, is better than anything we can fathom in our earthly simplicity. It was supernaturally good, and far better than anything we will see this side of heaven.

To the suggestion some may press that the light brought forth by God on the first day was temporary, let it be known that the light of God will never die out. He is eternal; He was before time; He is in all time; and He will be after time. The creation of the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day was for our benefit, not because the light brought forth on the first day was temporary or inadequate. God said it was good and we can take that to mean it was perfect. So why the creation of the sun, moon, and stars? That we will explore when we reach day four of creation. For now, it is enough to note that the light which God brought forth on the first day of creation was pleasing to Him and therefore it was good and the work could continue; we might consider that, if for any reason the light was not good, not pleasing to God, perhaps He would have scrapped the project. This is pure conjecture of course, but we should rejoice in those things the Lord says are good and avoid those which are evil, and here we have our first example of that which is good; the light of God.

“Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 NIV).

“And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day” What does it mean when the Bible says it was God who separated the light from the darkness? We know from our understanding of science that the world is round rather than flat; we don’t simply fall off the edge of the world if we keep going. We also know that the separation between day and night is the result of the earth’s rotation on its axis. Yet here we are told that it was God who separated the light from the dark; are we to assume that means God started the rotation of the earth at this point? Perhaps, though Scripture does not make it clear HOW God separated the light from the darkness, there is other information in this verse which alludes to what God was doing; and in this instance, science and creationism complement each other.

Note first: “God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night”. It is God who institutes the terminology we use to represent the period in which the sun graces our sky and that which it does not. Day and Night are the words which God called these periods; they are not terms man thought up. While here it may seem trivial to distinguish the naming of night and day, for we must admit, it doesn’t seem like it’s very important. Perhaps you say to yourself, ‘so God named the light day and the darkness night, so what?’; but in reality, as we dig deeper into these final moments of the first day of creation, we will see that it is drastically important to distinguish where the term day and night were first mentioned, and just as important, who it was who mentioned them (more on this shortly).

Note second: “…and the darkness He called Night”. Much like the discussion regarding God’s separation of light and darkness; that is, how it was God made this separation; though it is conjecture, it is reasonable to assume that separation resulted in the earth’s rotation on its axis as discussed. Here we can make another reasonable suggestion; that the darkness is still the all encompassing darkness that lacks any light; specifically, the light of God. While His light is certainly capable of overcoming the darkness, and the sun and moon have yet to be created at this point; perhaps we can suggest that God shone His light from a specific location so that the rotation of the earth might produce the same effect of day and night as it would at the end of day four. While we cannot be certain, the very use of the terms day and night by God suggests that this is a reasonable and likely assumption. The darkness however, is still the thick darkness that is void of any light. Our blackest sky when devoid of clouds, still produces some light; that which the moon reflects from the sun, as well as the light produced by stars. As these were not created until day four, they are un-available for viewing here. Nonetheless, our two suggestions, first that God separated the light from the darkness by setting the earth to its rotation, and second, that God projected as it were, His own light from a specific location in order to facilitate the beginnings of the day and night cycle, are reasonable assumptions despite a lack of clarity on the issue in Scripture. And while we might be tempted to ask why the clarity is not present, we should remember that what is contained in Scripture is adequate for the knowledge we require. It is also fair to say that while the method of God’s separating light from darkness, and all that entails, is something our curiosity would like to solve, it is ultimately not the how that is so important, but rather the why.

God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day” Here now we come to the heart of what makes God’s naming of day and night so important. While we briefly discussed the possibilities of the how, it is more relevant that we understand the why. Most are familiar with the scientific explanation of the “Big Bang” theory; but there is a less known theory which attempts to reconcile the scientific explanations for the creation of the universe and evolutionary theory with the creation account in Genesis. The “Gap Theory” suggests that each day in the Genesis creation account is actually a significant expanse of time. How much time varies on the current scientific suggestion of the age of the earth, but in general the belief is that each day represents several million years. Additionally, there is a variation to the “Gap Theory” which suggests that each of the first three days of creation represent large expanses of time (hundreds of millions of years) and upon creation of the sun, moon and stars on day four, the time for each day changes to the standard 24 hour period we are familiar with.

Note first: There is absolutely no reason that science and biblical truth MUST be reconciled with each other. The Protestant liberalist approach to Bible interpretation insists that the advancement of modern science renders “traditional” explanations of Scripture invalid, or impossible to defend adequately. Therefore, the natural approach is to find a means of reconciling the accounts of the Bible with modern scientific evidence or discovery. In other words, if science says it cannot happen, then an explanation that science agrees to be plausible must be the explanation; enter, the Gap Theory. The reality however, is far from the fantasy; that is, science is incapable of explaining the almighty, magnificent, supernatural power of God! There is no need for this reconciliation. The inability of science to explain aspects of God’s power is one of the wonders of God; that He would, in His awesomeness, love us so much that He would sacrifice His own Son upon a human cross in order to redeem us to Him is beyond the comprehension of the human mind. Therefore, we should not strive to reduce God to human understanding, for this is impossible. Instead, we should marvel humbly at the awesome power of a God who speaks life into existence, and tremble at the very thought of being on His bad side as it were.

Note second: The “Gap Theory” suggests that tens or hundreds of millions of years are represented with the term day in the creation account. If it were necessary to reconcile Scripture with scientific discovery or understanding, then this would be a plausible theory. As it is however, not only is it un-necessary to make such reconciliation as discussed previously, but the scientific theory of the creation of the world, and the theory of evolution are both, at their core, theories. That is, there is only scant evidence to suggest even the probability of these ideas, and certainly no legitimate evidence in support of them. While this is not intended to be an in-depth discussion of the fallacy of these two theories, a short note on one will serve to enlighten us regarding the marvelous wonder of the creation.

Evolutionary theory insists that species all across our planet are the result of natural selection, or survival of the fittest. At its core, evolutionary theory insists that all creatures can be traced back to a single gene pool at some point in history. The only fair word that comes to mind to lead an argument against such a theory is hogwash. The idea that some primordial ooze suddenly sprouted life is in itself preposterous. However, to suggest that creatures which were perfectly adept with a particular environment such as the ocean, suddenly found themselves capable of surviving in other environments takes more faith than to believe in the creation account found in Scripture. While the “theory” continues to evolve to meet modern challenges, what has never surfaced is a legitimate transitional fossil to show actual change from one species to another. While this point could be argued for many pages to come, suffice to say, there are hundreds of books written which highlight the lack of evidence for evolutionary theory. The fact that it is a theory should be noted here again; a theory is an idea that lacks evidence; it remains nothing more than a theory until evidence in favor of or against is provided or found. There is more evidence against evolution than there is for; in fact there is no evidence of evolution. Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that the account of creation as told in the Bible is adequate in answering the question, “Where did we come from?” This is in no way intended to be a direct assault on those who strive to prove the theory correct, but the notion that ‘no thinking person would ever consider the creation account of the Bible to be true’ is a direct assault on those who place their faith in God. We should all explore our faith individually; belief in evolution is as much a faith as belief in a creator. As Christians, it is our duty to approach such ideas with love, but never with appeasement. That is, we should not attempt to reconcile a posited scientific theory with biblical truth for the sake of closing the argument and moving on to something new. Our faith should always be to God first, but this does not mean there is no merit to science. One should be careful to explore all that science has to offer without trying to weigh that science against God. He does not conform to the laws of physics which He created, and any attempt to make His works fit into human understanding is wrought with danger. Give scientific proof its credit where it is due, but when it comes to matters of faith, be sure to search your heart for what God has placed there and be wary of any attempt to make God fit into a manmade mold.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:18-22).

Note third: The work of the first day is concluded with the words “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day”. While the sun has yet to be created, the evidence in the text suggests that the passing of evening and morning constitutes a single 24 hour day as we know it now. While reading to this point of the creation account, one might still ably make the argument for the Gap Theory; a cursory reading of Genesis 1 in its entirety however, shows that the same terminology is used to represent the conclusion of each day of creation.

“And there was evening, and there was morning, the second day” (Genesis 1:8)

            “And there was evening, and there was morning, the third day” (Genesis 1:13)

            “And there was evening, and there was morning, the fourth day” (Genesis 1:19)

            “And there was evening, and there was morning, the fifth day” (Genesis 1:23)

            “And there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31)

There is nothing in the text of the account of creation that suggests that each day is intended to represent a larger expanse of time; nor is there anything to suggest that days one through three represent large time periods while days four through six are represented by the 24 hour day associated with the rotation of the earth and the creation of the sun. If each “day” of creation was intended to represent a vast expanse of time, why is there no designation of change? Surely God knows that our understanding of a day is associated with the passing of light and dark, or evening and morning. It seems strange to think that God would present the paramount issue of creation in a confusing manner. The truth is He did not; the account of creation is accurate and simple to understand, and there is no need to reconcile the story of creation as told in Genesis to the scientific theory of the Big Bang or evolution. If God created everything in a time period other than the six days written in the Bible, it seems reasonable to assume that He would have ensured we understood this; there would be a change noted in the text as to the reference of a day. Instead, we see in other passages, the use of a day to continually represent a 24 hour period.

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11).

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:3).

“Six Days you shall labor and do all your work” (Deuteronomy 5:13).

“For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the Lord your God and do no work” (Deuteronomy 16:8).

If God used vast expanses of time in the creation of all we know and see before us but used the term day to represent each period of that time; then how can the Levitical laws use the same terminology? When God says the seventh day is holy; that we are to work six and rest on the seventh, He is referencing the pattern which He set during the creation. If God did not create the world in six literal days, how can we be expected to understand the Sabbath day, or the concept of working six days and resting on the seventh? The fact is, we cannot understand these commands from God unless we understand that He set the pattern for this type of behavior from the beginning of creation; in six literal 24 hour days, God created the heavens, the earth, all plants and animals, and ultimately mankind, and on the seventh day…

“God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation” (Genesis 2:2-3).

God commands the Israelites to rest on the seventh day, the holy day which He made holy, and to rest because He rested making the seventh day holy. That seems almost redundant when we consider that God would not make a command that could not be understood. If God commanded the Israelites to rest on the seventh day, specifically after working for six days, just as He had worked six days in creation, should we not understand that to mean that the six days of creation are equivalent to six days of work for a man? Of course we are! There may be some Scripture that is confusing, but the issue of the creation of the world is not among that minority; God intended for us to know how we came into being and He outlines the process in the simplest terms possible.

“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God Said ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day” (Genesis 1:1-5)

Day one of creation has concluded; God, having created the heavens and the earth, and having brought forth light to shine upon His creation and making separation between the two, now concludes the first day with satisfaction that all is according to plan. While we might consider that God could have done all in a single instant, the method of creation was specific and calculated. Each day of creation served a specific purpose, and the process of six days with rest upon the seventh is seen as an example for mankind to follow. God’s light shines upon the creation of the world and it stands ready for Him to bring forth all that He has planned and purposed; in the exploration of the question “where do we come from?” we might consider, and rightly so, that everything God prepares prior to the creation of man was, and is, for man. We are the culmination of God’s creation and everything that comes before was meant for us. We should rejoice in the love and grace of our Father who precisely created everything for our benefit; it is sin alone that has marred the creation; the sin of man.

Now that was surely a lot to take in 🙂

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I pray God’s grace and peace remains upon you today, tomorrow, and forever more.

You may contact me directly at pilotandpastor@yahoo.com