Thursday, September 8, 2011

Digging Deeper 

Let’s go a little deeper in God’s Word. I want to take you with me in a search to understand the character of God and His plan of salvation for man through Christ. Let’s look at some familiar verses’ Genesis 1:1-2.

· In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Let me begin by stating that this study is not an effort to refute any particular view of this passage it is simply the results of a biblical study of this passage, surrounding verses and how it fits into the overall context of God’s Word and plan for salvation.

This is a pretty straight forward statement, it is declarative, and it declares an action. The action is the action of creating the heavens and the earth, God is the one committing the act and the beginning is when it happens. But let’s dig a little deeper, first when did it happen?

Well the simple answer is in the beginning but when was that? While it is impossible to put a date on it a look at the Hebrew word from which the word “beginning” is translated gives us some insight. “Re’shiyth” it means first in place, time, rank or order. So when Moses writes this declarative it is right to interpret beginning as this is the first time anything is created, which also means that this is what starts the time line of creation. There is much debate among Bible students if this is a declaration summary of the entire creation process or it is a preceding creation prior to the 6 literal days in the first 2 chapters of Genesis that prepared the earth for human habitation which may have come immediately after or any number of years after. There is really not much reason to debate these two views given that both recognize that beginning means the first, that nothing else existed prior to God’s creation so I will not debate the topic but simply expound on my interpretation.

The result of God’s action is that the heavens and the earth are created. First the heavens Hebrew word “shamayim” this word can have one of two meanings 1. The physical heaven, the place where the birds fly. Deut. 4:17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, (the sky here is the same Hebrew word) 2. Where God lives is the other use of this word. I Kings 8:30 Listen to the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive. So in order to understand the meaning here we have to look at context. Although we cannot be dogmatic about it, it would seem that God is not creating a place to live given the fact that God is doing the creating , again we cannot say definitively that God is not creating a place to have His throne but it really doesn’t fit. Leaving us with the definition that God is creating the expanse that God calls heaven in Genesis 1:8 God called the expanse heaven(shamayim). And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

The second half of this declaration of God’s creation is the earth. The Hebrew word for earth used here is “Erets” this noun means the physical earth, the ground as opposed to the heavens. But the context can be confusing if we believe that this verse is a summary of all of God’s creation. This word as with many Hebrew words can and is used often differently depending on context. Sometimes “Erets” can be more inclusive or sometimes have a more narrow meaning. In this case it seems that the context is more inclusive like it is used in Psalm 27:13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. (“land of living” same Word “Erets” ) and in Genesis 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. It wasn’t the ground that was doing all the violence but the inhabitants of the earth. In context earth here can easily mean the earth and everything on it.

Having looked at this introductory statement “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” We move to verse two The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. A good interpretation would be to say that the earth was unformed and void. So would we be wrong then to believe that God did not create the earth from nothing? Certainly not, this scripture does not at all indicate that there was a mass of a blob wobbling around in nothingness and God stumbles upon it and decides to form it into what we now know as earth and all of creation. The declaration is that the earth was not formed and was nothing when God starts the creation process in the beginning.

The deep “tehom” refers to endless body of water that enveloped the earth and then the rest of this verse speaks of the breath “Spirit of God” moving over this unformed and lifeless, endless body of water. So this begs the question how did this formless, lifeless body of water exist before creation? The answer is it didn’t. Nothing existed before God spoke it into existence! Psalm 33:9 9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it [a]stood fast.

Because we do not see the narrative of when the formless and void earth came into existence does not at all detract from the fact that nothing existed before God and that everything that is created is created by God. This statement merely gives us the state of creation when God said “Let there be light” and the organization of God creation began.

Now having dug a little deeper in these two verses’ we need to ask ourselves what do I believe because this is what the Word of God says?

n What do I believe about God?

- I believe that God is not confined by time that God is eternal both past and future.

- I believe that God is creator and that nothing can exists unless it is a creation of God.

· “Of old You founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands Psalms 102:25

n What do I believe about me?

- I am a creation of God making me accountable to the creator.

- I am not in charge without God I simply do not exist.

- God is God alone and I am His creation.

· “Have you understood the expanse of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this. Job 38:18

Sharing Great News

Pastor Jim

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